Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis Inositol Phosphorylceramide: Distinctive Sphingoid Base Composition.
ABSTRACT: Inositol phosphorylceramide (IPC), the major sphingolipid in the genus Leishmania but not found in mammals, is considered a potentially useful target for chemotherapy against leishmaniasis. Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis is endemic in Latin America and causes American tegumentary leishmaniasis. We demonstrated that IPCs are localized internally in parasites, using a specific monoclonal antibody. Treatment with 5 ?M myriocin (a serine palmitoyltransferase inhibitor) rendered promastigotes 8-fold less infective than controls in experimental hamster infection, as determined by number of parasites per inguinal lymph node after 8 weeks infection, suggesting the importance of parasite IPC or sphingolipid derivatives in parasite infectivity or survival in the host. IPC was isolated from promastigotes of three L. (V.) braziliensis strains and analyzed by positive- and negative-ion ESI-MS. The major IPC ions were characterized as eicosasphinganine and eicosasphingosine. Negative-ion ESI-MS revealed IPC ion species at m/z 778.6 (d20:1/14:0), 780.6 (d20:0/14:0), 796.6 (t20:0/14:0), 806.6 (d20:1/16:0), and 808.6 (d20:0/16:0). IPCs isolated from L. (V.) braziliensis and L. (L.) major showed significant differences in IPC ceramide composition. The major IPC ion from L. (L.) major, detected in negative-ion ESI-MS at m/z 780.6, was composed of ceramide d16:1/18:0. Our results suggest that sphingosine synthase (also known as serine palmitoyltransferase; SPT) in L. (V.) braziliensis is responsible for synthesis of a long-chain base of 20 carbons (d20), whereas SPT in L. (L.) major synthesizes a 16-carbon long-chain base (d16). A phylogenetic tree based on SPT proteins was constructed by analysis of sequence homologies in species of the Leishmania and Viannia subgenera. Results indicate that SPT gene position in L. (V.) braziliensis is completely separated from that of members of subgenus Leishmania, including L. (L.) major, L. (L.) infantum, and L. (L.) mexicana. Our findings clearly demonstrate sphingoid base differences between L. (V.) braziliensis and members of subgenus Leishmania, and are relevant to future development of more effective targeted anti-leishmaniasis drugs.
Project description:Previous work from our group showed that tamoxifen, an oral drug that has been in use for the treatment of breast cancer for over 40 years, is active both in vitro and in vivo against several species of Leishmania, the etiological agent of leishmaniasis. Using a combination of metabolic labeling with [3H]-sphingosine and myo-[3H]-inositol, alkaline hydrolysis, HPTLC fractionations and mass spectrometry analyses, we observed a perturbation in the metabolism of inositolphosphorylceramides (IPCs) and phosphatidylinositols (PIs) after treatment of L. amazonensis promastigotes with tamoxifen, with a significant reduction in the biosynthesis of the major IPCs (composed of d16:1/18:0-IPC, t16:0/C18:0-IPC, d18:1/18:0-IPC and t16:0/20:0-IPC) and PIs (sn-1-O-(C18:0)alkyl -2-O-(C18:1)acylglycerol-3-HPO4-inositol and sn-1-O-(C18:0)acyl-2-O-(C18:1)acylglycerol-3-HPO4-inositol) species. Substrate saturation kinetics of myo-inositol uptake analyses indicated that inhibition of inositol transport or availability were not the main reasons for the reduced biosynthesis of IPC and PI observed in tamoxifen treated parasites. An in vitro enzymatic assay was used to show that tamoxifen was able to inhibit the Leishmania IPC synthase with an IC50 value of 8.48??M (95% CI 7.68-9.37), suggesting that this enzyme is most likely one of the targets for this compound in the parasites.
Project description:We evaluated whether four recombinant antigens previously used for vaccination against experimental infection with Leishmania (Leishmania) major could also induce protective immunity against a challenge with Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis, the species responsible for 90% of the 28,712 annual cases of cutaneous and mucocutaneous leishmaniasis recorded in Brazil during the year of 2004. Initially, we isolated the homolog genes encoding four L. (V.) braziliensis antigens: (i) homologue of receptor for activated C kinase, (ii) thiol-specific antioxidant, (iii) Leishmania elongation and initiation factor, and (iv) L. (L.) major stress-inducible protein 1. At the deduced amino acid level, all four open reading frames had a high degree of identity with the previously described genes of L. (L.) major being expressed on promastigotes and amastigotes of L. (V.) braziliensis. These genes were inserted into the vector pcDNA3 or expressed as bacterial recombinant proteins. After immunization with recombinant plasmids or proteins, BALB/c mice generated specific antibody or cell-mediated immune responses (gamma interferon production). After an intradermal challenge with L. (V.) braziliensis infective promastigotes, no significant reduction on the lesions was detected. We conclude that the protective immunity afforded by these four vaccine candidates against experimental cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by L. (L.) major could not be reproduced against a challenge with L. (V.) braziliensis. Although negative, we consider our results important since they suggest that studies aimed at the development of an effective vaccine against L. (V.) braziliensis, the main causative agent of cutaneous leishmaniasis in the New World, should be redirected toward distinct antigens or different vaccination strategies.
Project description:The protozoan parasite Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis (L. braziliensis) is the main cause of human tegumentary leishmaniasis in the New World, a disease affecting the skin and/or mucosal tissues. Despite its importance, the study of the unique biology of L. braziliensis through reverse genetics analyses has so far lagged behind in comparison with Old World Leishmania spp. In this study, we successfully applied a cloning-free, PCR-based CRISPR-Cas9 technology in L. braziliensis that was previously developed for Old World Leishmania major and New World L. mexicana species. As proof of principle, we demonstrate the targeted replacement of a transgene (eGFP) and two L. braziliensis single-copy genes (HSP23 and HSP100). We obtained homozygous Cas9-free HSP23- and HSP100-null mutants in L. braziliensis that matched the phenotypes reported previously for the respective L. donovani null mutants. The function of HSP23 is indeed conserved throughout the Trypanosomatida as L. major HSP23 null mutants could be complemented phenotypically with transgenes from a range of trypanosomatids. In summary, the feasibility of genetic manipulation of L. braziliensis by CRISPR-Cas9-mediated gene editing sets the stage for testing the role of specific genes in that parasite's biology, including functional studies of virulence factors in relevant animal models to reveal novel therapeutic targets to combat American tegumentary leishmaniasis.
Project description:We examined how the length of the long-chain base or the N-linked acyl chain of ceramides affected their lateral segregation in 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC) bilayers. Lateral segregation and ceramide-rich phase formation was ascertained by a lifetime analysis of trans-parinaric acid (tPA) fluorescence. The longer the length of the long-chain base (d16:1, d17:1, d18:1, d19:1, and d20:1 in N-palmitoyl ceramide), the less ceramide was needed for the onset of lateral segregation and ceramide-rich phase formation. A similar but much weaker trend was observed when sphingosine (d18:1)-based ceramide had N-linked acyl chains of increasing length (14:0 and 16:0-20:0 in one-carbon increments). The apparent lateral packing of the ceramide-rich phase, as determined from the longest-lifetime component of tPA fluorescence, also correlated strongly with the long-chain base length, but not as strongly with the N-acyl chain length. Finally, we compared two ceramide analogs with equal carbon numbers (d16:1/17:0 or d20:1/13:0) and observed that the analog with a longer sphingoid base segregated at lower bilayer concentrations to a ceramide-rich phase compared with the shorter sphingoid base analog. The gel phase formed by d20:1/13:0 ceramide also was more thermostable than the gel phase formed by d16:1/17:0 ceramide. 2H NMR data for 10 mol % stearoyl ceramide in POPC also showed that the long-chain base was more ordered than the acyl chain at comparable chain positions and temperatures. We conclude that the long-chain base length of ceramide is more important than the acyl chain length in determining the lateral segregation of the ceramide-rich gel phase and intermolecular interactions therein.
Project description:The main causative agent of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) in Suriname is Leishmania (Viannia) guyanensis. This case report presents a patient infected with Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis, a species never reported before in Suriname. This finding has clinical implications, because L. braziliensis has a distinct clinical phenotype characterized by mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, a more extensive and destructive form of CL that requires different treatment. Clinicians should be aware that chronic cutaneous ulcers in patients from the Guyana region could be caused by L. braziliensis.
Project description:Leishmaniasis is a group of diseases caused by parasites of the genus Leishmania that affects millions of people worldwide. The disease outcome is determined by both the parasite species and the host's immune response. Leishmania major infection causes a localized cutaneous lesion in patients and has been widely used to study the development of T cell responses in mice. L. major infected C57BL/6 mice are resistant to infection due to the development of Th1 responses, whereas BALB/c mice develop a Th2 response resulting in disease susceptibility and failure to control parasite replication. However, these disparate host phenotypes are not observed with all Leishmania species. For example, during L. braziliensis infection both BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice are resistant. In order to better understand the host genetic basis underlying disease susceptibility in vivo, we performed a whole genome transcriptional analysis from skin lesions of BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice infected intradermally for 4 weeks with either L. braziliensis or L. major. Overall design: twenty-four ear samples were recovered from either naïve mice or mice infected with Leishmania. For each infection, 4-5 mice were processed and the entire infected ear was recovered for RNA. Three naïve mice for each strain (Balb/c and C57BL/6) served as controls.
Project description:The control of Leishmania braziliensis by individuals with subclinical infection (SC) are unknown.A cohort of 308 household contacts (HCs) of patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) was established in 2010 in an endemic area and followed up for 5 years. Whole-blood cultures stimulated with soluble Leishmania antigen and a Leishmania skin test (LST) were performed in years 0, 2, and 4. The identification of the lymphocyte subsets secreting interferon (IFN) γ and the ability of monocytes to control Leishmania were determined.During follow-up, 118 subjects (38.3%) had evidence of L. braziliensis infection. Of the HCs, CL was documented in 45 (14.6%), 101 (32.8%) had SC infection, and 162 (52.6%) did not have evidence of exposure to L. braziliensis The ratio of infection to disease was 3.2:1. IFN-γ production, mainly by natural killer cells, was associated with protection, and a positive LST result did not prevent development of disease. Moreover, monocytes from subjects with SC infection were less permissive to parasite penetration and had a greater ability to control L. braziliensis than cells from patients with CL.Protection against CL was associated with IFN-γ production, negative LST results, impaired ability of Leishmania to penetrate monocytes, and increased ability to control Leishmania growth.
Project description:Leishmaniasis represents a group of parasitic diseases caused by a protozoan of the genus Leishmania and is widely distributed in tropical and subtropical regions. Leishmaniasis is one of the major tropical neglected diseases, with 1.5 to 2 million new cases occurring annually. Diagnosis remains a challenge despite advances in parasitological, serological, and molecular methods. Dogs are an important host for the parasite and develop both visceral and cutaneous lesions. Our goal was to contribute to the diagnosis of canine cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) and visceral leishmaniasis (VL) using the recombinant cysteine proteinase B (F-CPB) from Leishmania braziliensis and its N- and C-terminal domains (N-CPB and C-CPB) as antigens in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Sera from dogs from Northwest Argentina diagnosed with CL were tested by ELISA against a supernatant of L. braziliensis lysate, the F-CPB protein, and its domains. We found values of sensitivity (Se) of 90.7%, 94.4%, and 94.3% and specificity (Sp) of 95.5%, 90.9%, and 91.3% for F-CPB and its N- and C-terminal domains, respectively. In sera from dogs diagnosed with VL from Northeast Argentina, we found Se of 93.3%, 73.3%, and 66.7% and Sp of 92.3%, 76.9%, and 88.5% for F-CPB and its N- and C-terminal domains, respectively. These results support CPB as a relevant antigen for canine leishmaniasis diagnosis in its different clinical presentations. More interestingly, the amino acid sequence of CPB showed high percentages of identity in several Leishmania species, suggesting that the CPB from L. braziliensis qualifies as a good antigen for the diagnosis of leishmaniasis caused by different species.
Project description:Leishmaniasis is a neglected tropical disease caused by parasites of the genus Leishmania (NTD) endemic in 98 countries. Although some drugs are available, current treatments deal with issues such as toxicity, low efficacy, and emergence of resistance. Therefore, there is an urgent need to identify new targets for the development of new antileishmanial drugs. Protein kinases (PKs), which play an essential role in many biological processes, have become potential drug targets for many parasitic diseases. A refined bioinformatics pipeline was applied in order to define and compare the kinomes of L. infantum and L. braziliensis, species that cause cutaneous and visceral manifestations of leishmaniasis in the Americas, the latter being potentially fatal if untreated. Respectively, 224 and 221 PKs were identified in L. infantum and L. braziliensis overall. Almost all unclassified eukaryotic PKs were assigned to six of nine major kinase groups and, consequently, most have been classified into family and subfamily. Furthermore, revealing the kinomes for both Leishmania species allowed for the prioritization of potential drug targets that could be explored for discovering new drugs against leishmaniasis. Finally, we used a drug repurposing approach and prioritized seven approved drugs and investigational compounds to be experimentally tested against Leishmania. Trametinib and NMS-1286937 inhibited the growth of L. infantum and L. braziliensis promastigotes and amastigotes and therefore might be good candidates for the drug repurposing pipeline.
Project description:As key cells, able to host and kill Leishmania parasites, inflammatory monocytes/macrophages are potential vaccine and therapeutic targets to improve immune responses in Leishmaniasis. Macrophage phenotypes range from M1, which express NO-mediated microbial killing, to M2 macrophages that might help infection. Resistance to Leishmaniasis depends on Leishmania species, mouse strain, and both innate and adaptive immunity. C57BL/6 (B6) mice are resistant and control infection, whereas Leishmania parasites thrive in BALB/c mice, which are susceptible to develop cutaneous lesions in the course of infection with Leishmania major, but not upon infection with Leishmania braziliensis. Here, we investigated whether a deficit in early maturation of inflammatory monocytes into macrophages in BALB/c mice underlies increased susceptibility to L. major versus L. braziliensis parasites. We show that, after infection with L. braziliensis, monocytes are recruited to peritoneum, differentiate into macrophages, and develop an M1 phenotype able to produce proinflammatory cytokines in both B6 and BALB/c mice. Nonetheless, more mature macrophages from B6 mice expressed inducible NO synthase (iNOS) and higher NO production in response to L. braziliensis parasites, whereas BALB/c mice developed macrophages expressing an incomplete M1 phenotype. By contrast, monocytes recruited upon L. major infection gave rise to immature macrophages that failed to induce an M1 response in BALB/c mice. Overall, these results are consistent with the idea that resistance to Leishmania infection correlates with improved maturation of macrophages in a mouse-strain and Leishmania-species dependent manner. All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) has been proposed as a therapy to differentiate immature myeloid cells into macrophages and help immunity to tumors. To prompt monocyte to macrophage maturation upon L. major infection, we treated B6 and BALB/c mice with ATRA. Unexpectedly, treatment with ATRA reduced proinflammatory cytokines, iNOS expression, and parasite killing by macrophages. Moreover, ATRA promoted an M1 to M2 transition in bone marrow-derived macrophages from both strains. Therefore, ATRA uncouples macrophage maturation and development of M1 phenotype and downmodulates macrophage-mediated immunity to L. major parasites. Cautions should be taken for the therapeutic use of ATRA, by considering direct effects on innate immunity to intracellular pathogens.