Proline modulates the Trypanosoma cruzi resistance to reactive oxygen species and drugs through a novel D, L-proline transporter.
ABSTRACT: Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of Chagas' disease, has a metabolism largely based on the consumption of glucose and proline. This amino acid is essential for host cells infection and intracellular differentiation. In this work we identified a proline transporter (TcAAAP069) by yeasts complementation assays and overexpression in Trypanosoma cruzi epimastigotes. TcAAAP069 is mono-specific for proline but presents an unusual feature; the lack of stereospecificity, because it is competitively inhibited by the D- enantiomer. Parasites overexpressing TcAAAP069 have an increased intracellular proline concentration, 2.6-fold higher than controls, as a consequence of a higher proline transport rate. Furthermore, augmented proline concentration correlates with an improved resistance to trypanocidal drugs and also to reactive oxygen species including hydrogen peroxide and nitric oxide, emulating natural physiological situations. The IC50s for nifurtimox, benznidazole, H2O2 and NO. were 125%, 68%, 44% and 112% higher than controls, respectively. Finally, proline metabolism generates a higher concentration (48%) of ATP in TcAAAP069 parasites. Since proline participates on essential energy pathways, stress and drug resistance responses, these results provide a novel target for the development of new drugs for the treatments for Chagas' disease.
Project description:Trypanosoma cruzi is a genetically heterogeneous group of organisms that cause Chagas disease. It has been long suspected that the clinical outcome of the disease and response to therapeutic agents are, at least in part, related to the genetic characteristics of the parasite. Herein, we sought to validate the significance of the genotype of T. cruzi isolates recovered from patients with different clinical forms of Chagas disease living in Argentina on their biological behaviour and susceptibility to drugs. Genotype identification of the newly established isolates confirmed the reported predominance of TcV, with a minor frequency of TcI. Epimastigote sensitivity assays demonstrated marked dissimilar responses to benznidazole, nifurtimox, pentamidine and dihydroartemisinin in vitro. Two TcV isolates exhibiting divergent response to benznidazole in epimastigote assays were further tested for the expression of anti-oxidant proteins. Benznidazole-resistant BOL-FC10A epimastigotes had decreased expression of Old Yellow Enzyme and cytosolic superoxide dismutase, and overexpression of mitochondrial superoxide dismutase and tryparedoxin- 1, compared to benznidazole-susceptible AR-SE23C parasites. Drug sensitivity assays on intracellular amastigotes and trypomastigotes reproduced the higher susceptibility of AR-SE23C over BOL-FC10A parasites to benznidazole observed in epimastigotes assays. However, the susceptibility/resistance profile of amastigotes and trypomastigotes to nifurtimox, pentamidine and dihydroartemisinin varied markedly with respect to that of epimastigotes. C3H/He mice infected with AR-SE23C trypomastigotes had higher levels of parasitemia and mortality rate during the acute phase of infection compared to mice infected with BOL-FC10A trypomastigotes. Treatment of infected mice with benznidazole or nifurtimox was efficient to reduce patent parasitemia induced by either isolate. Nevertheless, qPCR performed at 70 dpi revealed parasite DNA in the blood of mice infected with AR-SE23C but not in BOL-FC10A infected mice. These results demonstrate high level of intra-type diversity which may represent an important obstacle for the testing of chemotherapeutic agents.
Project description:Trypanosomatid parasites are the infectious agents causing Chagas disease, visceral and cutaneous leishmaniasis and human African trypanosomiasis. Recent work of others has implicated an aldo-keto reductase (AKR) in the susceptibility and resistance of Trypanosoma cruzi to benznidazole, a drug used to treat Chagas disease. Here, we show that TcAKR and homologues in the related parasites Trypanosoma brucei and Leishmania donovani do not reductively activate monocyclic (benznidazole, nifurtimox and fexinidazole) or bicyclic nitro-drugs such as PA-824. Rather, these enzymes metabolise a variety of toxic ketoaldehydes, such as glyoxal and methylglyoxal, suggesting a role in cellular defence against chemical stress. UPLC-QToF/MS analysis of benznidazole bioactivation by T. cruzi cell lysates confirms previous reports identifying numerous drug metabolites, including a dihydro-dihydroxy intermediate that can dissociate to form N-benzyl-2-guanidinoacetamide and glyoxal, a toxic DNA-glycating and cross-linking agent. Thus, we propose that TcAKR contributes to benznidazole resistance by the removal of toxic glyoxal. In addition, three of the four enzymes studied here display activity as prostaglandin F2? synthases, despite the fact that there are no credible cyclooxygenases in these parasites to account for formation of the precursor PGH2 from arachidonic acid. Our studies suggest that arachidonic acid is first converted non-enzymatically in parasite lysates to (PGH2-like) regioisomers by free radical-mediated peroxidation and that AKRs convert these lipid peroxides into isoprostanes, including prostaglandin F2? and 8-iso-prostaglandin F2?.
Project description:Immunosuppression, which has become an increasingly relevant clinical condition in the last 50 years, modifies the natural history of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in most patients with Chagas disease. The main goal in this setting is to prevent the consequences of reactivation of T. cruzi infection by close monitoring. We analyze the relationship between Chagas disease and three immunosuppressant conditions, including a description of clinical cases seen at our center, a brief review of the literature, and recommendations for the management of these patients based on our experience and on the data in the literature. T. cruzi infection is considered an opportunistic parasitic infection indicative of AIDS, and clinical manifestations of reactivation are more severe than in acute Chagas disease. Parasitemia is the most important defining feature of reactivation. Treatment with benznidazole and/or nifurtimox is strongly recommended in such cases. It seems reasonable to administer trypanocidal treatment only to asymptomatic immunosuppressed patients with detectable parasitemia, and/or patients with clinically defined reactivation. Specific treatment for Chagas disease does not appear to be related to a higher incidence of neoplasms, and a direct role of T. cruzi in the etiology of neoplastic disease has not been confirmed. Systemic immunosuppressive diseases or immunosuppressants can modify the natural course of T. cruzi infection. Immunosuppressive doses of corticosteroids have not been associated with higher rates of reactivation of Chagas disease. Despite a lack of evidence-based data, treatment with benznidazole or nifurtimox should be initiated before immunosuppression where possible to reduce the risk of reactivation. Timely antiparasitic treatment with benznidazole and nifurtimox (or with posaconazole in cases of therapeutic failure) has proven to be highly effective in preventing Chagas disease reactivation, even if such treatment has not been formally incorporated into management protocols for immunosuppressed patients. International consensus guidelines based on expert opinion would greatly contribute to standardizing the management of immunosuppressed patients with Chagas disease.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Crystal violet (CV) was used for several years in blood banks to eliminate the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi in endemic areas in order to prevent transfusion-transmitted Chagas disease. One mechanism of action described for CV involves inhibition of proline uptake. In T. cruzi, proline is essential for host cell infection and intracellular differentiation among other processes, and can be obtained through the proline permease TcAAAP069. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:CV inhibited proline transporter TcAAAP069 and parasites overexpressing this permease were 47-fold more sensitive to this compound than control parasites. Using CV as reference molecule, loratadine, cyproheptadine, olanzapine and clofazimine were identified as structurally related compounds to CV (structural analogues) by in silico drug repurposing through a similarity-based virtual screening protocol. All these already-approved drugs for clinical use inhibited TcAAAP069 activity with different efficacies and also presented trypanocidal action in epimastigotes, trypomastigotes and amastigotes of the Y, CL Brener and Dm28c T. cruzi strains. Finally, a synergistic effect between benznidazole and the CV chemical analogues was evidenced by combination and dose-reduction indexes values in epimastigotes and trypomastigotes of the Y strain. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Loratadine, cyproheptadine and clofazimine inhibit TcAAAP069 proline transporter and also present trypanocidal effect against all T. cruzi life stages in strains from three different DTUs. These CV structural analogues could be a starting point to design therapeutic alternatives to treat Chagas disease by finding new indications for old drugs. This approach, called drug repurposing is a recommended strategy by the World Health Organization to treat neglected diseases, like Chagas disease, and combination therapy may improve the possibility of success of repositioned drugs.
Project description:Outbreaks of acute Chagas disease associated with oral transmission are easily detected nowadays with trained health personnel in areas of low endemicity, or in which the vector transmission has been interrupted. Given the biological and genetic diversity of Trypanosoma cruzi, the high morbidity, mortality, and the observed therapeutic failure, new characteristics of these outbreaks need to be addressed at different levels, both in Trypanosoma cruzi as in patient response. The aim of this work was to evaluate the patient's features involved in six outbreaks of acute Chagas disease which occurred in Santander, Colombia, and the characteristics of Trypanosoma cruzi clones isolated from these patients, to establish the potential relationship between the etiologic agent features with host behavior.The clinical, pathological and epidemiological aspects of outbreaks were analyzed. In addition, Trypanosoma cruzi clones were biologically characterized both in vitro and in vivo, and the susceptibility to the classical trypanocidal drugs nifurtimox and benznidazole was evaluated. Trypanosoma cruzi clones were genotyped by means of mini-exon intergenic spacer and cytochrome b genes sequencing.All clones were DTU I, and based on the mini-exon intergenic spacer, belong to two genotypes: G2 related with sub-urban, and G11 with rural outbreaks. Girón outbreak clones with higher susceptibility to drugs presented G2 genotype and C/T transition in Cyt b. The outbreaks affected mainly young population (±25.9 years), and the mortality rate was 10 %. The cardiac tissue showed intense inflammatory infiltrate, myocardial necrosis and abundant amastigote nests. However, although the gastrointestinal tissue was congestive, no inflammation or parasites were observed.Although all clones belong to DTU I, two intra-DTU genotypes were found with the sequencing of the mini-exon intergenic spacer, however there is no strict correlation between genetic groups, the cycles of the parasite or the clinical forms of the disease. Trypanosoma cruzi clones from Girón with higher sensitivity to nifurtimox presented a particular G2 genotype and C/T transition in Cyt b. When the diagnosis was early, the patients responded well to antichagasic treatment, which highlights the importance of diagnosis and treatment early to prevent fatal outcomes associated with these acute episodes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Chagas cardiomyopathy, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi infection, continues to be a neglected illness, and has a major impact on global health. The parasite undergoes several stages of morphological and biochemical changes during its life cycle, and utilizes an elaborated antioxidant network to overcome the oxidants barrier and establish infection in vector and mammalian hosts. Trypanothione synthetase (TryS) catalyzes the biosynthesis of glutathione-spermidine adduct trypanothione (T(SH)2) that is the principal intracellular thiol-redox metabolite in trypanosomatids. METHODS AND RESULTS:We utilized genetic overexpression (TryShi) and pharmacological inhibition approaches to examine the role of TryS in T. cruzi proliferation, tolerance to oxidative stress and resistance to anti-protozoal drugs. Our data showed the expression and activity of TryS was increased in all morphological stages of TryShi (vs. control) parasites. In comparison to controls, the TryShi epimastigotes (insect stage) recorded shorter doubling time, and both epimastigotes and infective trypomastigotes of TryShi exhibited 36-71% higher resistance to H2O2 (50-1000??M) and heavy metal (1-500??M) toxicity. Treatment with TryS inhibitors (5-30??M) abolished the proliferation and survival advantages against H2O2 pressure in a dose-dependent manner in both TryShi and control parasites. Further, epimastigote and trypomastigote forms of TryShi (vs. control) T. cruzi tolerated higher doses of benznidazole and nifurtimox, the drugs currently administered for acute Chagas disease treatment. CONCLUSIONS:TryS is essential for proliferation and survival of T. cruzi under normal and oxidant stress conditions, and provides an advantage to the parasite to develop resistance against currently used anti-trypanosomal drugs. TryS indispensability has been chemically validated with inhibitors that may be useful for drug combination therapy against Chagas disease.
Project description:Nifurtimox (Nfx) and benznidazole (Bz) are the current drugs used for the treatment of Chagas disease. The mechanisms of action and resistance to these drugs in this parasite are poorly known. Prostaglandin F2? synthase or old yellow enzyme (OYE), an NAD(P)H flavin oxidoreductase, has been involved in the activation pathway of other trypanocidal drugs such as Nfx; however, its role in the mechanism of action of Bz is uncertain. In this paper, we performed some experiments of functional genomics in the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi with the aim to test the role of this gene in the resistance to Bz. For this, we overexpressed this gene in sensitive parasites and evaluated the resistance level to the drug and other chemical compounds such as hydrogen peroxide, methyl methanesulfonate and gamma radiation. Interestingly, parasites overexpressing OYE showed alteration of enzymes associated with oxidative stress protection such as superoxide dismutase A and trypanothione reductase. Furthermore, transfected parasites were more sensitive to drugs, genetic damage and oxidative stress. Additionally, transfected parasites were less infective than wild-type parasites and they showed higher alteration in mitochondrial membrane potential and cell cycle after treatment with Bz. These results supply essential information to help further the understanding of the mechanism of action of Bz in T. cruzi.
Project description:Chagas disease, caused by the unicellular parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, claims 50,000 lives annually and is the leading cause of infectious myocarditis in the world. As current antichagastic therapies like nifurtimox and benznidazole are highly toxic, ineffective at parasite eradication, and subject to increasing resistance, novel therapeutics are urgently needed. Cruzain, the major cysteine protease of Trypanosoma cruzi, is one attractive drug target. In the current work, molecular dynamics simulations and a sequence alignment of a non-redundant, unbiased set of peptidase C1 family members are used to identify uncharacterized cruzain binding sites. The two sites identified may serve as targets for future pharmacological intervention.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Drugs currently used for the treatment of Chagas' disease, nifurtimox and benznidazole, have a limited effectiveness and toxic side effects. With the aim of finding new therapeutic approaches, in vitro and in vivo anti-Trypanosoma cruzi activity of vitamin C alone and combined with benznidazole were investigated. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:The trypanocidal activity on epimastigote and trypomastigote forms was evaluated by counting parasites in a Neubauer chamber after treatment with the compounds. For the amastigote stage, transgenic parasites expressing ?-galactosidase were used and quantified by measuring the ?-galactosidase activity. The cytotoxicity of compounds was tested on Vero cells. The redox state of the parasite was evaluated by determining the reduced thiol levels (spectrophotometric assay) and the intracellular oxidative state (by flow cytometry). The in vivo trypanocidal activity was evaluated on a murine model of Chagas' disease. The trypanocidal activity of vitamin C and benznidazole was similar for the three parasite forms. When combining both drugs, vitamin C did not induce any change in the antiparasitic activity of benznidazole on trypomastigotes; however, on mammal cells, vitamin C diminished the cytotoxicity degree of benznidazole. Two mechanisms of action may be postulated for vitamin C: a lethal pro-oxidant effect on the parasite when used alone, and an antioxidant effect, when combined with benznidazole. A similar behavior was observed on infected mice; i.e., parasite counts in infected mice treated with vitamin C were lower than that of the control group. Animals treated with benznidazole presented lower parasitemia levels, as compared with those treated with vitamin C alone. Again, vitamin C did not cause any effect on the antiparasitic profile of benznidazole. Even though a combined treatment was employed, the antioxidant effect of vitamin C on the host was evidenced; a 100% survival was observed and the weight loss occurring during the acute phase of the infection was reduced. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Based on these results, the combination of vitamin C with benznidazole could be considered as an alternative treatment for Chagas' disease. These preliminary results encourage further research to improve the treatment of Chagas' disease.
Project description:The discovery of new therapeutic options against Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease, stands as a fundamental need. Currently, there are only two drugs available to treat this neglected disease, which represents a major public health problem in Latin America. Both available therapies, benznidazole and nifurtimox, have significant toxic side effects and their efficacy against the life-threatening symptomatic chronic stage of the disease is variable. Thus, there is an urgent need for new, improved anti-T. cruzi drugs. With the objective to reliably accelerate the drug discovery process against Chagas disease, several advances have been made in the last few years. Availability of engineered reporter gene expressing parasites triggered the development of phenotypic in vitro assays suitable for high throughput screening (HTS) as well as the establishment of new in vivo protocols that allow faster experimental outcomes. Recently, automated high content microscopy approaches have also been used to identify new parasitic inhibitors. These in vitro and in vivo early drug discovery approaches, which hopefully will contribute to bring better anti-T. cruzi drug entities in the near future, are reviewed here.