Protein tyrosine phosphatase TbPTP1: A molecular switch controlling life cycle differentiation in trypanosomes.
ABSTRACT: Differentiation in African trypanosomes (Trypanosoma brucei) entails passage between a mammalian host, where parasites exist as a proliferative slender form or a G0-arrested stumpy form, and the tsetse fly. Stumpy forms arise at the peak of each parasitaemia and are committed to differentiation to procyclic forms that inhabit the tsetse midgut. We have identified a protein tyrosine phosphatase (TbPTP1) that inhibits trypanosome differentiation. Consistent with a tyrosine phosphatase, recombinant TbPTP1 exhibits the anticipated substrate and inhibitor profile, and its activity is impaired by reversible oxidation. TbPTP1 inactivation in monomorphic bloodstream trypanosomes by RNA interference or pharmacological inhibition triggers spontaneous differentiation to procyclic forms in a subset of committed cells. Consistent with this observation, homogeneous populations of stumpy forms synchronously differentiate to procyclic forms when tyrosine phosphatase activity is inhibited. Our data invoke a new model for trypanosome development in which differentiation to procyclic forms is prevented in the bloodstream by tyrosine dephosphorylation. It may be possible to use PTP1B inhibitors to block trypanosomatid transmission.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Trypanosome gene expression is regulated almost exclusively at the post-transcriptional level, with mRNA degradation playing a decisive role. When trypanosomes are transferred from the blood of a mammal to the midgut of a Tsetse fly, they transform to procyclic forms: gene expression is reprogrammed, changing the cell surface and switching the mode of energy metabolism. Within the blood, trypanosomes can pre-adapt for Tsetse transmission, becoming growth-arrested stumpy forms. We describe here the transitions in gene expression that occur during differentiation of in-vitro cultured bloodstream forms to procyclic forms. RESULTS: Some mRNAs showed changes within 30 min of cis-aconitate addition, whereas others responded 12-24 hours later. For the first 12 h after addition of cis-aconitate, cells accumulated at the G1 phase of the cell cycle, and showed decreases in mRNAs required for proliferation, mimicking the changes seen in stumpy forms: many mRNAs needed for ribosomal and flagellar biogenesis showed striking co-regulation. Other mRNAs encoding components of signal transduction pathways and potential regulators were specifically induced only during differentiation. Messenger RNAs encoding proteins required for individual metabolic pathways were often co-regulated. CONCLUSION: Trypanosome genes form post-transcriptional regulons in which mRNAs with functions in particular pathways, or encoding components of protein complexes, show almost identical patterns of regulation.
Project description:Trypanosomes undergo extensive developmental changes during their complex life cycle. Crucial among these is the transition between slender and stumpy bloodstream forms and, thereafter, the differentiation from stumpy to tsetse-midgut procyclic forms. These developmental events are highly regulated, temporally reproducible and accompanied by expression changes mediated almost exclusively at the post-transcriptional level.In this study we have examined, by whole-genome microarray analysis, the mRNA abundance of genes in slender and stumpy forms of T.brucei AnTat1.1 cells, and also during their synchronous differentiation to procyclic forms. In total, five biological replicates representing the differentiation of matched parasite populations derived from five individual mouse infections were assayed, with RNAs being derived at key biological time points during the time course of their synchronous differentiation to procyclic forms. Importantly, the biological context of these mRNA profiles was established by assaying the coincident cellular events in each population (surface antigen exchange, morphological restructuring, cell cycle re-entry), thereby linking the observed gene expression changes to the well-established framework of trypanosome differentiation.Using stringent statistical analysis and validation of the derived profiles against experimentally-predicted gene expression and phenotypic changes, we have established the profile of regulated gene expression during these important life-cycle transitions. The highly synchronous nature of differentiation between stumpy and procyclic forms also means that these studies of mRNA profiles are directly relevant to the changes in mRNA abundance within individual cells during this well-characterised developmental transition.
Project description:Trypanosoma brucei, causing African sleeping-sickness, exploits quorum-sensing (QS) to generate the 'stumpy forms' necessary for the parasite's transmission to tsetse-flies. These quiescent cells are generated by differentiation in the bloodstream from proliferative slender forms. Using genome-wide RNAi selection we screened for repressors of transmission stage-enriched mRNAs in slender forms, using the stumpy-elevated ESAG9 transcript as a model. This identified REG9.1, whose RNAi-silencing alleviated ESAG9 repression in slender forms and tsetse-midgut procyclic forms. Interestingly, trypanosome surface protein Family 5 and Family 7 mRNAs were also elevated, which, like ESAG9, are T. brucei specific and stumpy-enriched. We suggest these contribute to the distinct transmission biology and vector tropism of T. brucei from other African trypanosome species. As well as surface family regulation, REG9.1-depletion generated QS-independent development to stumpy forms in vivo, whereas REG9.1 overexpression in bloodstream forms potentiated spontaneous differentiation to procyclic forms in the absence of an external signal. Combined, this identifies REG9.1 as a regulator of developmental cell fate, controlling the expression of Trypanosoma brucei-specific molecules elevated during transmission.
Project description:During natural Trypanosoma brucei infections, the parasites differentiate spontaneously into a non-dividing "stumpy" form when a certain level of parasitaemia is attained. This form is metabolically adapted for rapid further differentiation into procyclic forms upon uptake by Tsetse flies.We describe here four central Ugandan isolates of Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense that have undergone only three rodent passages since isolation from human patients. As expected, SNP analysis shows that these isolates are more closely related to each other than to the commonly used strains Lister 427, Antat1.1, and TREU927. TREU927 generally has smaller copy numbers of repeated genes than the other strains, while Lister 427 trypanosomes with a 30-year history of in vitro culture and cloning have more histone genes than the other isolates. The recently isolated trypanosomes were grown in rats, and their transcriptomes characterised. In comparison with cultured procyclic and bloodstream forms, there were increases in mRNAs encoding the stumpy-form markers ESAG9 and PIP39, with coordinated alterations in the levels of over 600 additional mRNAs. Numerous mRNAs encoding proteins of no known function were either increased or decreased. The products of the mRNAs that were increased in parallel with PIP39 included not only enzymes of procyclic-form metabolism, but also components of the translational and RNA control machineries. Many of the mRNAs that were decreased in cells with elevated PIP39 reflected reduced cell division.These transcriptomes suggest new avenues for research into the regulation of trypanosome differentiation.
Project description:The gene expression of Trypanosoma brucei has been examined extensively in the blood of mammalian hosts and in forms found in the midgut of its arthropod vector, the tsetse fly. However, trypanosomes also undergo development within the mammalian bloodstream as they progress from morphologically 'slender forms' to transmissible 'stumpy forms' through morphological intermediates. This transition is temporally progressive within the first wave of parasitaemia such that gene expression can be monitored in relatively pure slender and stumpy populations as well as during the progression between these extremes. The development also represents the progression of cells from translationally active forms adapted for proliferation in the host to translationally quiescent forms, adapted for transmission. We have used metabolic labelling to quantitate translational activity in slender forms, stumpy forms and in forms undergoing early differentiation to procyclic forms in vitro. Thereafter we have examined the cohort of total mRNAs that are enriched throughout development in the mammalian bloodstream (slender, intermediate and stumpy forms), irrespective of strain, revealing those that exhibit consistent developmental regulation rather than sample specific changes. Transcripts that cosediment with polysomes in stumpy forms and slender forms have also been enriched to identify transcripts that escape translational repression prior to transmission. Combined, the expression and polysomal association of transcripts as trypanosomes undergo development in the mammalian bloodstream have been defined, providing a resource for trypanosome researchers. This facilitates the identification of those that undergo developmental regulation in the bloodstream and therefore those likely to have a role in the survival and capacity for transmission of stumpy forms.
Project description:Trypanosoma brucei live in mammals as bloodstream forms and in the Tsetse midgut as procyclic forms. Differentiation from one form to the other proceeds via a growth-arrested stumpy form with low messenger RNA (mRNA) content and translation. The parasites have six eIF4Es and five eIF4Gs. EIF4E1 pairs with the mRNA-binding protein 4EIP but not with any EIF4G. EIF4E1 and 4EIP each inhibit expression when tethered to a reporter mRNA, but while tethered EIF4E1 suppresses only when 4EIP is present, suppression by tethered 4EIP does not require the interaction with EIF4E1. In growing bloodstream forms, 4EIP is preferentially associated with unstable mRNAs. Bloodstream- or procyclic-form trypanosomes lacking 4EIP have only a marginal growth disadvantage. Bloodstream forms without 4EIP are, however, defective in translation suppression during stumpy-form differentiation and cannot subsequently convert to growing procyclic forms. Intriguingly, the differentiation defect can be complemented by a truncated 4EIP that does not interact with EIF4E1. In contrast, bloodstream forms lacking EIF4E1 have a growth defect, stumpy formation seems normal, but they appear unable to grow as procyclic forms. We suggest that 4EIP and EIF4E1 fine-tune mRNA levels in growing cells, and that 4EIP contributes to translation suppression during differentiation to the stumpy form.
Project description:Trypanosoma brucei adapts to changing environments as it cycles through arrested and proliferating stages in the human and tsetse fly hosts. Changes in protein tyrosine phosphorylation of several proteins, including NOPP44/46, accompany T. brucei development. Moreover, inactivation of T. brucei protein-tyrosine phosphatase 1 (TbPTP1) triggers differentiation of bloodstream stumpy forms into tsetse procyclic forms through unknown downstream effects. Here, we link these events by showing that NOPP44/46 is a major substrate of TbPTP1. TbPTP1 substrate-trapping mutants selectively enrich NOPP44/46 from procyclic stage cell lysates, and TbPTP1 efficiently and selectively dephosphorylates NOPP44/46 in vitro. To provide insights into the mechanism of NOPP44/46 recognition, we determined the crystal structure of TbPTP1. The TbPTP1 structure, the first of a kinetoplastid protein-tyrosine phosphatase (PTP), emphasizes the conservation of the PTP fold, extending to one of the most diverged eukaryotes. The structure reveals surfaces that may mediate substrate specificity and affords a template for the design of selective inhibitors to interfere with T. brucei transmission.
Project description:Immune evasion in African trypanosomes is principally mediated by antigenic variation, but rapid internalization of surface-bound immune factors may contribute to survival. Endocytosis is upregulated approximately 10-fold in bloodstream compared to procyclic forms, and surface coat remodeling accompanies transition between these life stages. Here we examined expression of endocytosis markers in tsetse fly stages in vivo and monitored modulation during transition from bloodstream to procyclic forms in vitro. Among bloodstream stages nonproliferative stumpy forms have endocytic activity similar to that seen with rapidly dividing slender forms, while differentiation of stumpy forms to procyclic forms is accompanied by rapid down-regulation of Rab11 and clathrin, suggesting that modulation of endocytic and recycling systems accompanies this differentiation event. Significantly, rapid down-regulation of endocytic markers occurs upon entering the insect midgut and expression of Rab11 and clathrin remains low throughout subsequent development, which suggests that high endocytic activity is not required for remodeling the parasite surface or for survival within the fly. However, salivary gland metacyclic forms dramatically increase expression of clathrin and Rab11, indicating that emergence of mammalian infective forms is coupled to reacquisition of a high-activity endocytic-recycling system. These data suggest that high-level endocytosis in Trypanosoma brucei is an adaptation required for viability in the mammalian host.
Project description:Human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) is a neglected tropical disease caused by Trypanosoma brucei spp. The parasites are transmitted by tsetse flies and adapt to their different hosts and environments by undergoing a series of developmental changes. During differentiation, the trypanosome alters its protein coat. Bloodstream form trypanosomes in humans have a coat of variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) that shields them from the immune system. The procyclic form, the first life-cycle stage to develop in the tsetse fly, replaces the VSG coat by procyclins; these proteins do not protect the parasite from lysis by serum components. Our study exploits the parasite-specific process of differentiation from bloodstream to procyclic forms to screen for potential drug candidates. Using transgenic trypanosomes with a reporter gene in a procyclin locus, we established a whole-cell assay for differentiation in a medium-throughput format. We screened 7,495 drug-like compounds and identified 28 hits that induced expression of the reporter and loss of VSG at concentrations in the low micromolar range. Small molecules that induce differentiation to procyclic forms could facilitate studies on the regulation of differentiation as well as serving as scaffolds for medicinal chemistry for new treatments for sleeping sickness.
Project description:The gene expression of Trypanosoma brucei has been examined extensively in the blood of mammalian hosts and in forms found in the midgut of its arthropod vector, the tsetse fly. However, trypanosomes also undergo development within the mammalian bloodstream as they progress from morphologically ‘slender forms’ to transmissible ‘stumpy forms’ through morphological intermediates. This transition is temporally progressive within the first wave of parasitaemia such that gene expression can be monitored in relatively pure slender and stumpy populations as well as during the progression between these extremes. The development also represents the progression of cells from translationally active forms adapted for proliferation in the host to translationally quiescent forms, adapted for transmission. We have used metabolic labelling to quantitate translational activity in slender forms, stumpy forms and in forms undergoing early differentiation to procyclic forms in vitro. Thereafter we have examined the cohort of total mRNAs that are enriched in throughout development in the mammalian bloodstream (slender, intermediate and stumpy forms), irrespective of strain, revealing those that exhibit consistent developmental regulation rather than sample specific changes. Transcripts that cosediment with polysomes in stumpy forms and slender forms have also been identified to enrich transcripts that escape translational repression prior to transmission. Combined, the expression and polysomal association of transcripts as trypanosomes undergo development in the mammalian bloodstream haves been defined, providing a resource for trypanosome researchers. This facilitates the identification of those that undergo developmental regulation in the bloodstream and therefore those likely to have a role in the survival and capacity for transmission of stumpy forms. Examination of gene expression during life cycle stages.