Pyrimidine biosynthesis is not an essential function for Trypanosoma brucei bloodstream forms.
ABSTRACT: African trypanosomes are capable of both pyrimidine biosynthesis and salvage of preformed pyrimidines from the host, but it is unknown whether either process is essential to the parasite.Pyrimidine requirements for growth were investigated using strictly pyrimidine-free media, with or without single added pyrimidine sources. Growth rates of wild-type bloodstream form Trypanosoma brucei brucei were unchanged in pyrimidine-free medium. The essentiality of the de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis pathway was studied by knocking out the PYR6-5 locus that produces a fusion product of orotate phosphoribosyltransferase (OPRT) and Orotidine Monophosphate Decarboxylase (OMPDCase). The pyrimidine auxotroph was dependent on a suitable extracellular pyrimidine source. Pyrimidine starvation was rapidly lethal and non-reversible, causing incomplete DNA content in new cells. The phenotype could be rescued by addition of uracil; supplementation with uridine, 2'deoxyuridine, and cytidine allowed a diminished growth rate and density. PYR6-5(-/-) trypanosomes were more sensitive to pyrimidine antimetabolites and displayed increased uracil transport rates and uridine phosphorylase activity. Pyrimidine auxotrophs were able to infect mice although the infection developed much more slowly than infection with the parental, prototrophic trypanosome line.Pyrimidine salvage was not an essential function for bloodstream T. b. brucei. However, trypanosomes lacking de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis are completely dependent on an extracellular pyrimidine source, strongly preferring uracil, and display reduced infectivity. As T. brucei are able to salvage sufficient pyrimidines from the host environment, the pyrimidine biosynthesis pathway is not a viable drug target, although any interruption of pyrimidine supply was lethal.
Project description:African trypanosomes are capable of both pyrimidine biosynthesis and salvage of preformed pyrimidines from the host. However, uptake of pyrimidines in bloodstream form trypanosomes has not been investigated, making it difficult to judge the relative importance of salvage and synthesis or to design a pyrimidine-based chemotherapy. Detailed characterization of pyrimidine transport activities in bloodstream form Trypanosoma brucei brucei found that these cells express a high-affinity uracil transporter (designated TbU3) that is clearly distinct from the procyclic pyrimidine transporters. This transporter had low affinity for uridine and 2'deoxyuridine and was the sole pyrimidine transporter expressed in these cells. In addition, thymidine was taken up inefficiently through a P1-type nucleoside transporter. Of importance, the anticancer drug 5-fluorouracil was an excellent substrate for TbU3, and several 5-fluoropyrimidine analogs were investigated for uptake and trypanocidal activity; 5F-orotic acid, 5F-2'deoxyuridine displayed activity in the low micromolar range. The metabolism and mode of action of these analogs was determined using metabolomic assessments of T. brucei clonal lines adapted to high levels of these pyrimidine analogs, and of the sensitive parental strains. The analysis showed that 5-fluorouracil is incorporated into a large number of metabolites but likely exerts toxicity through incorporation into RNA. 5F-2'dUrd and 5F-2'dCtd are not incorporated into nucleic acids but act as prodrugs by inhibiting thymidylate synthase as 5F-dUMP. We present the most complete model of pyrimidine salvage in T. brucei to date, supported by genome-wide profiling of the predicted pyrimidine biosynthesis and conversion enzymes.
Project description:African trypanosomes are capable of both de novo synthesis and salvage of pyrimidines. The last two steps in de novo synthesis are catalysed by UMP synthase (UMPS) - a bifunctional enzyme comprising orotate phosphoribosyl transferase (OPRT) and orotidine monophosphate decarboxylase (OMPDC). To investigate the essentiality of pyrimidine biosynthesis in Trypanosoma brucei, we generated a umps double knockout (DKO) line by gene replacement. The DKO was unable to grow in pyrimidine-depleted medium in vitro, unless supplemented with uracil, uridine, deoxyuridine or UMP. DKO parasites were completely resistant to 5-fluoroorotate and hypersensitive to 5-fluorouracil, consistent with loss of UMPS, but remained sensitive to pyrazofurin indicating that, unlike mammalian cells, the primary target of pyrazofurin is not OMPDC. The null mutant was unable to infect mice indicating that salvage of host pyrimidines is insufficient to support growth. However, following prolonged culture in vitro, parasites regained virulence in mice despite retaining pyrimidine auxotrophy. Unlike the wild-type, both pyrimidine auxotrophs secreted substantial quantities of orotate, significantly higher in the virulent DKO line. We propose that this may be responsible for the recovery of virulence in mice, due to host metabolism converting orotate to uridine, thereby bypassing the loss of UMPS in the parasite.
Project description:Protozoan parasites of the Leishmania genus express the metabolic machinery to synthesize pyrimidine nucleotides via both de novo and salvage pathways. To evaluate the relative contributions of pyrimidine biosynthesis and salvage to pyrimidine homeostasis in both life cycle stages of Leishmania donovani, individual mutant lines deficient in either carbamoyl phosphate synthetase (CPS), the first enzyme in pyrimidine biosynthesis, uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (UPRT), a salvage enzyme, or both CPS and UPRT were constructed. The ?cps lesion conferred pyrimidine auxotrophy and a growth requirement for medium supplementation with one of a plethora of pyrimidine nucleosides or nucleobases, although only dihydroorotate or orotate could circumvent the pyrimidine auxotrophy of the ?cps/?uprt double knockout. The ?uprt null mutant was prototrophic for pyrimidines but could not salvage uracil or any pyrimidine nucleoside. The capability of the ?cps parasites to infect mice was somewhat diminished but still robust, indicating active pyrimidine salvage by the amastigote form of the parasite, but the ?cps/?uprt mutant was completely attenuated with no persistent parasites detected after a 4-week infection. Complementation of the ?cps/?uprt clone with either CPS or UPRT restored infectivity. These data establish that an intact pyrimidine biosynthesis pathway is essential for the growth of the promastigote form of L. donovani in culture, that all uracil and pyrimidine nucleoside salvage in the parasite is mediated by UPRT, and that both the biosynthetic and salvage pathways contribute to a robust infection of the mammalian host by the amastigote. These findings impact potential therapeutic design and vaccine strategies for visceral leishmaniasis.
Project description:Bacteria are often found in multicellular communities known as biofilms, which constitute a resistance form against environmental stresses. Extracellular adhesion and cell aggregation factors, responsible for bacterial biofilm formation and maintenance, are tightly regulated in response to physiological and environmental cues. We show that, in Escherichia coli, inactivation of genes belonging to the de novo uridine monophosphate (UMP) biosynthetic pathway impairs production of curli fibers and cellulose, important components of the bacterial biofilm matrix, by inhibiting transcription of the csgDEFG operon, thus preventing production of the biofilm master regulator CsgD protein. Supplementing growth media with exogenous uracil, which can be converted to UMP through the pyrimidine nucleotide salvage pathway, restores csgDEFG transcription and curli production. In addition, however, exogenous uracil triggers cellulose production, particularly in strains defective in either carB or pyrB genes, which encode enzymes catalyzing the first steps of de novo UMP biosynthesis. Our results indicate the existence of tight and complex links between pyrimidine metabolism and curli/cellulose production: transcription of the csgDEFG operon responds to pyrimidine nucleotide availability, while cellulose production is triggered by exogenous uracil in the absence of active de novo UMP biosynthesis. We speculate that perturbations in the UMP biosynthetic pathways allow the bacterial cell to sense signals such as starvation, nucleic acids degradation, and availability of exogenous pyrimidines, and to adapt the production of the extracellular matrix to the changing environmental conditions.
Project description:Uridine phosphorylase (UP) is a key enzyme of pyrimidine salvage pathways that enables the recycling of endogenous or exogenous-supplied pyrimidines and plays an important intracellular metabolic role. Here, we biochemically and structurally characterized two evolutionarily divergent uridine phosphorylases, PcUP1 and PcUP2 from the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora capsici. Our analysis of other oomycete genomes revealed that both uridine phosphorylases are present in Phytophthora and Pythium genomes, but only UP2 is seen in Saprolegnia spp. which are basal members of the oomycetes. Moreover, uridine phosphorylases are not found in obligate oomycete pathogens such as Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis and Albugo spp. PcUP1 and PcUP2 are upregulated 300 and 500 fold respectively, within 90?min after infection of pepper leaves. The crystal structures of PcUP1 in ligand-free and in complex with uracil/ribose-1-phosphate, 2'-deoxyuridine/phosphate and thymidine/phosphate were analyzed. Crystal structure of this uridine phosphorylase showed strict conservation of key residues in the binding pocket. Structure analysis of PcUP1 with bound ligands, and site-directed mutagenesis of key residues provide additional support for the "push-pull" model of catalysis. Our study highlights the importance of pyrimidine salvage during the earliest stages of infection.
Project description:Leishmania pyrimidine salvage is replete with opportunities for therapeutic intervention with enzyme inhibitors or antimetabolites. Their uptake into cells depends upon specific transporters; therefore it is essential to establish whether various Leishmania species possess similar pyrimidine transporters capable of drug uptake. Here, we report a comprehensive characterization of pyrimidine transport in L. major and L. mexicana. In both species, two transporters for uridine/adenosine were detected, one of which also transported uracil and the antimetabolites 5-fluoruracil (5-FU) and 5F,2'deoxyuridine (5F,2'dUrd), and was designated uridine-uracil transporter 1 (UUT1); the other transporter mediated uptake of adenosine, uridine, 5F,2'dUrd and thymidine and was designated Nucleoside Transporter 1 (NT1). To verify the reported L. donovani model of two NT1-like genes encoding uridine/adenosine transporters, and an NT2 gene encoding an inosine transporter, we cloned the corresponding L. major and L. mexicana genes, expressing each in T. brucei. Consistent with the L. donovani reports, the NT1-like genes of either species mediated the adenosine-sensitive uptake of [3H]-uridine but not of [3H]-inosine. Conversely, the NT2-like genes mediated uptake of [3H]-inosine but not [3H]-uridine. Among pyrimidine antimetabolites tested, 5-FU and 5F,2'dUrd were the most effective antileishmanials; resistance to both analogs was induced in L. major and L. mexicana. In each case it was found that the resistant cells had lost the transport capacity for the inducing drug. Metabolomics analysis found that the mechanism of action of 5-FU and 5F-2'dUrd was similar in both Leishmania species, with major changes in deoxynucleotide metabolism. We conclude that the pyrimidine salvage system is highly conserved in Leishmania species - essential information for the development of pyrimidine-based chemotherapy.
Project description:The genomic DNAs of strains 263 of L. infantum and five derived independent resistant mutants to 5-fluorouracil were used in comparative genomic hybridizations to reveal the deletion and/or amplification events occured by drug resistance mechanisms. The human protozoan parasites Leishmania are prototrophic for pyrimidines and de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis is necessary for their growth. Five independent L. infantum mutants were selected for resistance to the pyrimidine analogue 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in the hope to better understand the metabolism of pyrimidine in Leishmania. Analysis of the 5-FU mutants by comparative genomic hybridization and whole genome sequencing revealed amplification and deletion events as well as point mutations in metabolic genes involved in either the uridine salvage, folate or dTMP biosynthesis pathways. In particular, a dhfr-ts containing amplicon was observed in two mutants and a deletion of part of chromosome 10 was detected in one mutant. Point mutations in uridine phosphorybosyl transferase (UPRT), thymidine kinase (TK) and uridine phosphorylase (UP) were also discovered. Transfection experiments confirmed that these molecular alterations were responsible for the 5-FU resistance phenotype. Transport studies revealed that one resistant mutant was defective for uracil and 5-FU import although the identity of the transporter remains elusive. This study provided further insights in pyrimidine metabolism in Leishmania and confirmed that multiple mutations can co-exist in a cell to lead to resistance. Each independent resistant mutant to 5-fluorouracil was hybridizated with the wild-type L. infantum 263 to 10 microarrays, each with three biological replicates (independent cultures).
Project description:The human protozoan parasites Leishmania are prototrophic for pyrimidines with the ability of both de novo biosynthesis and uptake of pyrimidines.Five independent L. infantum mutants were selected for resistance to the pyrimidine analogue 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in the hope to better understand the metabolism of pyrimidine in Leishmania. Analysis of the 5-FU mutants by comparative genomic hybridization and whole genome sequencing revealed in selected mutants the amplification of DHFR-TS and a deletion of part of chromosome 10. Point mutations in uracil phosphorybosyl transferase (UPRT), thymidine kinase (TK) and uridine phosphorylase (UP) were also observed in three individual resistant mutants. Transfection experiments confirmed that these point mutations were responsible for 5-FU resistance. Transport studies revealed that one resistant mutant was defective for uracil and 5-FU import.This study provided further insights in pyrimidine metabolism in Leishmania and confirmed that multiple mutations can co-exist and lead to resistance in Leishmania.
Project description:Nucleoside hydrolases catalyze the cleavage of N-glycosidic bonds in nucleosides, yielding ribose and the respective bases. While nucleoside hydrolase activity has not been detected in mammalian cells, many protozoan parasites rely on nucleoside hydrolase activity for salvage of purines and/or pyrimidines from their hosts. In contrast, uridine phosphorylase is the key enzyme of pyrimidine salvage in mammalian hosts and many other organisms. We show here that the open reading frame (ORF) YDR400w of Saccharomyces cerevisiae carries the gene encoding uridine hydrolase (URH1). Disruption of this gene in a conditionally pyrimidine-auxotrophic S. cerevisiae strain, which is also deficient in uridine kinase (urk1), leads to the inability of the mutant to utilize uridine as the sole source of pyrimidines. Protein extracts of strains overexpressing YDR400w show increased hydrolase activity only with uridine and cytidine, but no activity with inosine, adenosine, guanosine, and thymidine as substrates, demonstrating that ORF YDR400w encodes a uridine-cytidine N-ribohydrolase. Expression of a homologous cDNA from a protozoan parasite (Crithidia fasciculata) in a ura3 urk1 urh1 mutant is sufficient to restore growth on uridine. Growth can also be restored by expression of a human uridine phosphorylase cDNA. Yeast strains expressing protozoan N-ribohydrolases or host phosphorylases could therefore become useful tools in drug screens for specific inhibitors.
Project description:Trypanosoma brucei cannot synthesize purines de novo and relies on purine salvage from its hosts to build nucleic acids. With adenosine being a preferred purine source of bloodstream-form trypanosomes, adenosine kinase (AK; EC 184.108.40.206) is likely to be a key player in purine salvage. Adenosine kinase is also of high pharmacological interest, since for many adenosine antimetabolites, phosphorylation is a prerequisite for activity. Here, we cloned and functionally characterized adenosine kinase from T. brucei (TbAK). TbAK is a tandem gene, expressed in both procyclic- and bloodstream-form trypanosomes, whose product localized to the cytosol of the parasites. The RNA interference-mediated silencing of TbAK suggested that the gene is nonessential under standard growth conditions. Inhibition or downregulation of TbAK rendered the trypanosomes resistant to cordycepin (3'-deoxyadenosine), demonstrating a role for TbAK in the activation of adenosine antimetabolites. The expression of TbAK in Saccharomyces cerevisiae complemented a null mutation in the adenosine kinase gene ado1. The concomitant expression of TbAK with the T. brucei adenosine transporter gene TbAT1 allowed S. cerevisiae ado1 ade2 double mutants to grow on adenosine as the sole purine source and, at the same time, sensitized them to adenosine antimetabolites. The coexpression of TbAK and TbAT1 in S. cerevisiae ado1 ade2 double mutants proved to be a convenient tool for testing nucleoside analogues for uptake and activation by T. brucei adenosine salvage enzymes.