Expression of the RNA-binding protein RBP10 promotes the bloodstream-form differentiation state in Trypanosoma brucei.
ABSTRACT: In nearly all eukaryotes, cellular differentiation is governed by changes in transcription, and stabilized by chromatin and DNA modification. Gene expression control in the pathogen Trypanosoma brucei, in contrast, relies almost exclusively on post-transcriptional mechanisms, so RNA binding proteins must assume the burden that is usually borne by transcription factors. T. brucei multiply in the blood of mammals as bloodstream forms, and in the midgut of Tsetse flies as procyclic forms. We show here that a single RNA-binding protein, RBP10, promotes the bloodstream-form trypanosome differentiation state. Depletion of RBP10 from bloodstream-form trypanosomes gives cells that can grow only as procyclic forms; conversely, expression of RBP10 in procyclic forms converts them to bloodstream forms. RBP10 binds to procyclic-specific mRNAs containing an UAUUUUUU motif, targeting them for translation repression and destruction. Products of RBP10 target mRNAs include not only the major procyclic surface protein and enzymes of energy metabolism, but also protein kinases and stage-specific RNA-binding proteins: this suggests that alterations in RBP10 trigger a regulatory cascade.
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: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 is a unicellular parasite which multiplies in mammals (bloodstream form) and Tsetse flies (procyclic form). Trypanosome RNA polymerase II transcription is polycistronic, individual mRNAs being excised by trans splicing and polyadenylation. We previously made detailed measurements of mRNA half-lives in bloodstream and procyclic forms, and developed a mathematical model of gene expression for bloodstream forms. At the whole transcriptome level, many bloodstream-form mRNAs were less abundant than was predicted by the model.We refined the published mathematical model and extended it to the procyclic form. We used the model, together with known mRNA half-lives, to predict the abundances of individual mRNAs, assuming rapid, unregulated mRNA processing; then we compared the results with measured mRNA abundances. Remarkably, the abundances of most mRNAs in procyclic forms are predicted quite well by the model, being largely explained by variations in mRNA decay rates and length. In bloodstream forms substantially more mRNAs are less abundant than predicted. We list mRNAs that are likely to show particularly slow or inefficient processing, either in both forms or with developmental regulation. We also measured ribosome occupancies of all mRNAs in trypanosomes grown in the same conditions as were used to measure mRNA turnover. In procyclic forms there was a weak positive correlation between ribosome density and mRNA half-life, suggesting cross-talk between translation and mRNA decay; ribosome density was related to the proportion of the mRNA on polysomes, indicating control of translation initiation. Ribosomal protein mRNAs in procyclics appeared to be exceptionally rapidly processed but poorly translated.Levels of mRNAs in procyclic form trypanosomes are determined mainly by length and mRNA decay, with some control of precursor processing. In bloodstream forms variations in nuclear events play a larger role in transcriptome regulation, suggesting aquisition of new control mechanisms during adaptation to mammalian parasitism.
Project description:The fate of an mRNA is determined by its interaction with proteins and small RNAs within dynamic complexes called ribonucleoprotein complexes (mRNPs). In Trypanosoma brucei and related kinetoplastids, responses to internal and external signals are mainly mediated by post-transcriptional processes. Here, we used proximity-dependent biotin identification (BioID) combined with RNA-seq to investigate the changes resulting from ectopic expression of RBP10 and RBP9, two developmentally regulated RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). Both RBPs have reduced expression in insect procyclic forms (PCFs) compared with bloodstream forms (BSFs). Upon overexpression in PCFs, both proteins were recruited to cytoplasmic foci, co-localizing with the processing body marker SCD6. Further, both RBPs altered the transcriptome from a PCF- to a BSF-like pattern. Notably, upon expression of BirA*-RBP9 and BirA*-RBP10, BioID yielded more than 200 high confidence protein interactors (more than 10-fold enriched); 45 (RBP9) and 31 (RBP10) were directly related to mRNA metabolism. This study validates the use of BioID for investigating mRNP components but also illustrates the complexity of mRNP function.
Project description:Kinetoplastids rely heavily on post-transcriptional mechanisms for control of gene expression, with regulation of mRNA processing, translation and degradation by RNA-binding proteins. ZC3H32 is a cytosolic mRNA-binding protein with three non-canonical CCCH zinc finger domains. It is much more abundant in bloodstream-form Trypanosoma brucei than in procyclic forms. Tethering of ZC3H32 to a reporter mRNA suppressed translation and resulted in mRNA degradation, and deletion analysis suggested that this activity was present in both the N- and C-terminal domains, but not the central zinc finger-containing domain. Tandem affinity purification, however, revealed no interaction partners that might account for this activity. RNASeq analyses did not yield any evidence for sequence-specific binding or regulation of specific mRNAs. The presence of ZC3H32 homologues in monogenetic and free-living Euglenids also argues against a role in developmental regulation, although its function may have diverged in evolution. T. brucei ZC3H32 might be implicated in basal mRNA metabolism, with this role perhaps being taken over by another protein in procyclic forms.
Project description: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:The infectious metacyclic forms of Trypanosoma brucei result from a complex development in the tsetse fly vector. When they infect mammals, they cause African sleeping sickness in humans. Due to scarcity of biological material and difficulties of the tsetse fly as an experimental system, very limited information is available concerning the gene expression profile of metacyclic forms. We used an in vitro system based on expressing the RNA binding protein 6 to obtain infectious metacyclics and determined their protein and mRNA repertoires by mass-spectrometry (MS) based proteomics and mRNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) in comparison to non-infectious procyclic trypanosomes. We showed that metacyclics are quiescent cells, and propose this influences the choice of a monocistronic variant surface glycoprotein expression site. Metacyclics have a largely bloodstream-form type transcriptome, and thus are programmed to translate a bloodstream-form type proteome upon entry into the mammalian host and resumption of cell division. Genes encoding cell surface components showed the largest changes between procyclics and metacyclics, observed at both the transcript and protein levels. Genes encoding metabolic enzymes exhibited expression in metacyclics with features of both procyclic and bloodstream forms, suggesting that this intermediate-type metabolism is dictated by the availability of nutrients in the tsetse fly vector.
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:BACKGROUND:Trypanosoma brucei brucei, the parasite causing Nagana in domestic animals, is closely related to the parasites causing sleeping sickness, but does not infect humans. In addition to its importance as a pathogen, the relative ease of genetic manipulation and an innate capacity for RNAi extend its use as a model organism in cell and infection biology. During its development in its mammalian and insect (tsetse fly) hosts, T. b. brucei passes through several different life-cycle stages. There are currently four life-cycle stages that can be cultured: slender forms and stumpy forms, which are equivalent to forms found in the mammal, and early and late procyclic forms, which are equivalent to forms in the tsetse midgut. Early procyclic forms show coordinated group movement (social motility) on semi-solid surfaces, whereas late procyclic forms do not. RESULTS:RNA-Seq was performed on biological replicates of each life-cycle stage. These constitute the first datasets for culture-derived slender and stumpy bloodstream forms and early and late procyclic forms. Expression profiles confirmed that genes known to be stage-regulated in the animal and insect hosts were also regulated in culture. Sequence reads of 100-125 bases provided sufficient precision to uncover differential expression of closely related genes. More than 100 transcripts showed peak expression in stumpy forms, including adenylate cyclases and several components of inositol metabolism. Early and late procyclic forms showed differential expression of 73 transcripts, a number of which encoded proteins that were previously shown to be stage-regulated. Moreover, two adenylate cyclases previously shown to reduce social motility are up-regulated in late procyclic forms. CONCLUSIONS:This study validates the use of cultured bloodstream forms as alternatives to animal-derived parasites and yields new markers for all four stages. In addition to underpinning recent findings that early and late procyclic forms are distinct life-cycle stages, it could provide insights into the reasons for their different biological properties.
Project description:African trypanosomes undergo differentiation in order to adapt to the mammalian host and the tsetse fly vector. To characterize the role of a mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase homologue, TbMAPK5, in the differentiation of Trypanosoma brucei, we constructed a knockout in procyclic (insect) forms from a differentiation-competent (pleomorphic) stock. Two independent knockout clones proliferated normally in culture and were not essential for other life cycle stages in the fly. They were also able to infect immunosuppressed mice, but the peak parasitemia was 16-fold lower than that of the wild type. Differentiation of the proliferating long slender to the nonproliferating short stumpy bloodstream form is triggered by an autocrine factor, stumpy induction factor (SIF). The knockout differentiated prematurely in mice and in culture, suggestive of increased sensitivity to SIF. In contrast, a null mutant of a cell line refractory to SIF was able to proliferate normally. The differentiation phenotype was partially rescued by complementation with wild-type TbMAPK5 but exacerbated by introduction of a nonactivatable mutant form. Our results indicate a regulatory function for TbMAPK5 in the differentiation of bloodstream forms of T. brucei that might be exploitable as a target for chemotherapy against human sleeping sickness.