Arginase expression modulates nitric oxide production in Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis.
ABSTRACT: Arginase is an enzyme that converts L-arginine to urea and L-ornithine, an essential substrate for the polyamine pathway supporting Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis replication and its survival in the mammalian host. L-arginine is also the substrate of macrophage nitric oxide synthase 2 (NOS2) to produce nitric oxide (NO) that kills the parasite. This competition can define the fate of Leishmania infection.The transcriptomic profiling identified a family of oxidoreductases in L. (L.) amazonensis wild-type (La-WT) and L. (L.) amazonensis arginase knockout (La-arg-) promastigotes and axenic amastigotes. We highlighted the identification of an oxidoreductase that could act as nitric oxide synthase-like (NOS-like), due to the following evidences: conserved domain composition, the participation of NO production during the time course of promastigotes growth and during the axenic amastigotes differentiation, regulation dependence on arginase activity, as well as reduction of NO amount through the NOS activity inhibition. NO quantification was measured by DAF-FM labeling analysis in a flow cytometry.We described an arginase-dependent NOS-like activity in L. (L.) amazonensis and its role in the parasite growth. The increased detection of NO production in the mid-stationary and late-stationary growth phases of La-WT promastigotes could suggest that this production is an important factor to metacyclogenesis triggering. On the other hand, La-arg- showed an earlier increase in NO production compared to La-WT, suggesting that NO production can be arginase-dependent. Interestingly, La-WT and La-arg- axenic amastigotes produced higher levels of NO than those observed in promastigotes. As a conclusion, our work suggested that NOS-like is expressed in Leishmania in the stationary growth phase promastigotes and amastigotes, and could be correlated to metacyclogenesis and amastigotes growth in a dependent way to the internal pool of L-arginine and arginase activity.
Project description:Leishmania is a protozoan parasite that alternates its life cycle between the sand-fly vector and the mammalian host. This alternation involves environmental changes and leads the parasite to dynamic modifications in morphology, metabolism, cellular signaling and regulation of gene expression to allow for a rapid adaptation to new conditions. The L-arginine pathway in L. amazonensis is important during the parasite life cycle and interferes in the establishment and maintenance of the infection in mammalian macrophages. Host arginase is an immune-regulatory enzyme that can reduce the production of nitric oxide by activated macrophages, directing the availability of L-arginine to the polyamine pathway, resulting in parasite replication. In this work, we performed transcriptional profiling to identify differentially expressed genes in L. amazonensis wild-type (La-WT) versus L. amazonensis arginase knockout (La-arg-) promastigotes and axenic amastigotes.A total of 8253 transcripts were identified in La-WT and La-arg- promastigotes and axenic amastigotes, about 60% of them codifying hypothetical proteins and 443 novel transcripts, which did not match any previously annotated genes. Our RNA-seq data revealed that 85% of genes were constitutively expressed. The comparison of transcriptome and metabolome data showed lower levels of arginase and higher levels of glutamate-5-kinase in La-WT axenic amastigotes compared to promastigotes. The absence of arginase activity in promastigotes increased the levels of pyrroline 5-carboxylate reductase, but decreased the levels of arginosuccinate synthase, pyrroline 5-carboxylate dehydrogenase, acetylornithine deacetylase and spermidine synthase transcripts levels. These observations can explain previous metabolomic data pointing to the increase of L-arginine, citrulline and L-glutamate and reduction of aspartate, proline, ornithine and putrescine. Altogether, these results indicate that arginase activity is important in Leishmania gene expression modulation during differentiation and adaptation to environmental changes. Here, we confirmed this hypothesis with the identification of differential gene expression of the enzymes involved in biosynthesis of amino acids, arginine and proline metabolism and arginine biosynthesis.All data provided information about the transcriptomic profiling and the expression levels of La-WT and La-arg- promastigotes and axenic amastigotes. These findings revealed the importance of arginase in parasite survival and differentiation, and indicated the existence of a coordinated response in the absence of arginase activity related to arginine and polyamine pathways.
Project description:Leishmania uses the amino acid L-arginine as a substrate for arginase, enzyme that produces urea and ornithine, last precursor of polyamine pathway. This pathway is used by the parasite to replicate and it is essential to establish the infection in the mammalian host. L-arginine is not synthesized by the parasite, so its uptake occurs through the amino acid permease 3 (AAP3). AAP3 is codified by two copies genes (5.1 and 4.7 copies), organized in tandem in the parasite genome. One copy presents the expression regulated by L-arginine availability.RNA-seq data revealed 14 amino acid transporters differentially expressed in the comparison of La-WT vs. La-arg- promastigotes and axenic amastigotes. The 5.1 and 4.7 aap3 transcripts were down-regulated in La-WT promastigotes vs. axenic amastigotes, and in La-WT vs. La-arg- promastigotes. In contrast, transcripts of other transporters were up-regulated in the same comparisons. The amount of 5.1 and 4.7 aap3 mRNA of intracellular amastigotes was also determined in sample preparations from macrophages, obtained from BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice and the human THP-1 lineage infected with La-WT or La-arg-, revealing that the genetic host background is also important. We also determined the aap3 mRNA and AAP3 protein amounts of promastigotes and axenic amastigotes in different environmental growth conditions, varying pH, temperature and L-arginine availability. Interestingly, the increase of temperature increased the AAP3 level in plasma membrane and consequently the L-arginine uptake, independently of pH and L-arginine availability. In addition, we demonstrated that besides the plasma membrane localization, AAP3 was also localized in the glycosome of L. amazonensis promastigotes and axenic amastigotes.In this report, we described the differential transcriptional profiling of amino acids transporters from La-WT and La-arg- promastigotes and axenic amastigotes. We also showed the increased AAP3 levels under amino acid starvation or its decrease in L-arginine supplementation. The differential AAP3 expression was determined in the differentiation of promastigotes to amastigotes conditions, as well as the detection of AAP3 in the plasma membrane reflecting in the L-arginine uptake. Our data suggest that depending on the amino acid pool and arginase activity, Leishmania senses and could use an alternative route for the amino acid transport in response to stress signaling.
Project description:During its life cycle, Leishmania undergoes extreme environmental changes, alternating between insect vectors and vertebrate hosts. Elevated temperature and decreased pH, conditions encountered after macrophage invasion, can induce axenic differentiation of avirulent promastigotes into virulent amastigotes. Here we show that iron uptake is a major trigger for the differentiation of Leishmania amazonensis amastigotes, independently of temperature and pH changes. We found that iron depletion from the culture medium triggered expression of the ferrous iron transporter LIT1 (Leishmania iron transporter 1), an increase in iron content of the parasites, growth arrest, and differentiation of wild-type (WT) promastigotes into infective amastigotes. In contrast, LIT1-null promastigotes showed reduced intracellular iron content and sustained growth in iron-poor media, followed by cell death. LIT1 up-regulation also increased iron superoxide dismutase (FeSOD) activity in WT but not in LIT1-null parasites. Notably, the superoxide-generating drug menadione or H(2)O(2) was sufficient to trigger differentiation of WT promastigotes into fully infective amastigotes. LIT1-null promastigotes accumulated superoxide radicals and initiated amastigote differentiation after exposure to H(2)O(2) but not to menadione. Our results reveal a novel role for FeSOD activity and reactive oxygen species in orchestrating the differentiation of virulent Leishmania amastigotes in a process regulated by iron availability.
Project description:Recent studies have shown that histone proteins can act as antimicrobial peptides in host defense against extracellular bacteria, fungi, and Leishmania promastigotes. In this study, we used human recombinant histone proteins to further study their leishmaniacidal effects and the underlying mechanisms. We found that the histones H2A and H2B (but not H1(0)) could directly and efficiently kill promastigotes of Leishmania amazonensis, L. major, L. braziliensis, and L. mexicana in a treatment dose-dependent manner. Scanning electron microscopy revealed surface disruption of histone-treated promastigotes. More importantly, the preexposure of promastigotes to histone proteins markedly decreased the infectivity of promastigotes to murine macrophages (M?s) in vitro. However, axenic and lesion-derived amastigotes of L. amazonensis and L. mexicana were relatively resistant to histone treatment, which correlated with the low levels of intracellular H2A in treated amastigotes. To understand the mechanisms underlying these differential responses, we investigated the role of promastigote surface molecules in histone-mediated killing. Compared with the corresponding controls, transgenic L. amazonensis promastigotes expressing lower levels of surface gp63 proteins were more susceptible to histone H2A, while L. major and L. mexicana promastigotes with targeted deletion of the lipophosphoglycan 2 (lpg2) gene (but not the lpg1 gene) were more resistant to histone H2A. We discuss the influence of promastigote major surface molecules in the leishmaniacidal effect of histone proteins. This study provides new information on host innate immunity to different developmental stages of Leishmania parasites.
Project description:Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis is an intracellular protozoan parasite responsible for the cutaneous leishmaniasis. The parasite replicates inside mammalian macrophage to establish infection. Host-pathogen interactions result in microRNA-mediated post-transcriptional regulation of host genes involved in inflammatory immune response. We analyzed macrophage miRNA profiles during L. (L.) amazonensis infection. The regulation of macrophage miRNA expression by the parasite correlates with/depends on parasite arginase activity during infection. L. (L.) amazonensis (La-WT) presented significant miRNA profile alteration (27%) compared to L. (L.) amazonensis arginase knockout (La-arg<sup>-</sup>) (~40%) in relation to uninfected-macrophages. We observed that 78% of the altered miRNAs were up-regulated in La-WT infection, while only 32% were up-regulated in La-arg<sup>-</sup>-infected macrophages. In contrast to La-WT, the lack of L. (L.) amazonensis arginase led to the inhibition of miR-294 and miR-721 expression. The expression of miR-294 and miR-721 was recovered to levels similar to La-WT in La-arg<sup>-</sup> addback mutant. The inhibition of miR-294/Nos2 and miR721/Nos2 interactions increased NOS2 expression and NO production, and reduced L. (L.) amazonensis infectivity, confirming Nos2 as target of these miRNAs. The role of miR-294 and miR-721 in the regulation of NOS2 expression during Leishmania replication in infected macrophages pointing these miRNAs as potential new targets for drug development.
Project description:A transport system for pentamidine in Leishmania donovani and Leishmania amazonensis promastigotes and axenic amastigotes has been identified and characterized. Pentamidine is not metabolized by these parasites. Its uptake process is saturable, carrier-mediated and energy-dependent. This drug does not inhibit purine or pyrimidine uptake, whereas it inhibits uptake of several amino acids non-competitively and that of putrescine and spermidine competitively. The results suggest that pentamidine shares polyamine-carrier systems in these parasites.
Project description:Protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania alternate between flagellated, elongated extracellular promastigotes found in insect vectors, and round-shaped amastigotes enclosed in phagolysosome-like Parasitophorous Vacuoles (PVs) of infected mammalian host cells. Leishmania amazonensis amastigotes occupy large PVs which may contain many parasites; in contrast, single amastigotes of Leishmania major lodge in small, tight PVs, which undergo fission as parasites divide. To determine if PVs of these Leishmania species can fuse with each other, mouse macrophages in culture were infected with non-fluorescent L. amazonensis amastigotes and, 48 h later, superinfected with fluorescent L. major amastigotes or promastigotes. Fusion was investigated by time-lapse image acquisition of living cells and inferred from the colocalization of parasites of the two species in the same PVs. Survival, multiplication and differentiation of parasites that did or did not share the same vacuoles were also investigated. Fusion of PVs containing L. amazonensis and L. major amastigotes was not found. However, PVs containing L. major promastigotes did fuse with pre-established L. amazonensis PVs. In these chimeric vacuoles, L. major promastigotes remained motile and multiplied, but did not differentiate into amastigotes. In contrast, in doubly infected cells, within their own, unfused PVs metacyclic-enriched L. major promastigotes, but not log phase promastigotes--which were destroyed--differentiated into proliferating amastigotes. The results indicate that PVs, presumably customized by L. major amastigotes or promastigotes, differ in their ability to fuse with L. amazonensis PVs. Additionally, a species-specific PV was required for L. major destruction or differentiation--a requirement for which mechanisms remain unknown. The observations reported in this paper should be useful in further studies of the interactions between PVs to different species of Leishmania parasites, and of the mechanisms involved in the recognition and fusion of PVs.
Project description:Leishmaniasis is one of the leading globally neglected diseases, affecting millions of people worldwide. <i>Leishmania</i> infection depends on the ability of insect-transmitted metacyclic promastigotes to invade mammalian hosts, differentiate into amastigotes, and replicate inside macrophages. To counter the hostile oxidative environment inside macrophages, these protozoans contain anti-oxidant systems that include iron-dependent superoxide dismutases (SODs) in mitochondria and glycosomes. Increasing evidence suggests that in addition to this protective role, <i>Leishmania</i> mitochondrial SOD may also initiate H<sub>2</sub>O<sub>2</sub>-mediated redox signaling that regulates gene expression and metabolic changes associated with differentiation into virulent forms. To investigate this hypothesis, we examined the specific role of SODA, the mitochondrial SOD isoform in <i>Leishmania amazonensis</i> Our inability to generate <i>L. amazonensis SODA</i> null mutants and the lethal phenotype observed following RNAi-mediated silencing of the <i>Trypanosoma brucei SODA</i> ortholog suggests that SODA is essential for trypanosomatid survival. <i>L. amazonensis</i> metacyclic promastigotes lacking one <i>SODA</i> allele failed to replicate in macrophages and were severely attenuated in their ability to generate cutaneous lesions in mice. Reduced expression of SODA also resulted in mitochondrial oxidative damage and failure of <i>SODA</i>/?<i>sodA</i> promastigotes to differentiate into axenic amastigotes. SODA expression above a critical threshold was also required for the development of metacyclic promastigotes, as <i>SODA</i>/?<i>sodA</i> cultures were strongly depleted in this infective form and more susceptible to reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced stress. Collectively, our data suggest that SODA promotes <i>Leishmania</i> virulence by protecting the parasites against mitochondrion-generated oxidative stress and by initiating ROS-mediated signaling mechanisms required for the differentiation of infective forms.
Project description:This study was designed to assess in vitro metacyclogenesis of Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis and Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis clinical field isolates obtained from patient lesions (L. braziliensis IMG3 and PPS6m; L. amazonensis MAB6). Metacyclogenesis was evaluated by different criteria, namely, promastigote size (morphometric analysis and flow cytometry), surface modifications (loss of lectin or monoclonal antibody (mAb) binding, complement resistance), and infectivity to human macrophages. Growth curves were similar for all parasites evaluated. The various features analyzed were expressed in a high percentage of promastigotes at 6th and 10th days of culture and a low percentage at the 2nd day. However, in most isolates, these features, considered as markers of metacyclogenesis, seemed to develop with different time courses, since the percentages of metacyclic forms detected with each technique were usually different. Parasites from 6th or 10th day and those negatively selected with lectin or mAb similarly infected human macrophages. From all isolates analyzed, L. amazonensis PH8 and MAB6 showed the highest and the lowest levels of susceptibility, respectively, to leishmanicidal activity of IFN-?/LPS-activated macrophages. Our results showed that by using different techniques to evaluate different aspects of metacyclogenesis (morphological and biochemical modifications) different percentages of metacyclic promastigotes can be detected in each isolate culture.
Project description:Neutrophils are the first cells to infiltrate to the site of Leishmania promastigote infection, and these cells help to reduce parasite burden shortly after infection is initiated. Several clinical reports indicate that neutrophil recruitment is sustained over the course of leishmaniasis, and amastigote-laden neutrophils have been isolated from chronically infected patients and experimentally infected animals. The goal of this study was to compare how thioglycolate-elicited murine neutrophils respond to L. amazonensis metacyclic promastigotes and amastigotes derived from axenic cultures or from the lesions of infected mice. Neutrophils efficiently internalized both amastigote and promastigote forms of the parasite, and phagocytosis was enhanced in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated neutrophils or when parasites were opsonized in serum from infected mice. Parasite uptake resulted in neutrophil activation, oxidative burst, and accelerated neutrophil death. While promastigotes triggered the release of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-?), uptake of amastigotes preferentially resulted in the secretion of interleukin-10 (IL-10) from neutrophils. Finally, the majority of promastigotes were killed by neutrophils, while axenic culture- and lesion-derived amastigotes were highly resistant to neutrophil microbicidal mechanisms. This study indicates that neutrophils exhibit distinct responses to promastigote and amastigote infection. Our findings have important implications for determining the impact of sustained neutrophil recruitment and amastigote-neutrophil interactions during the late phase of cutaneous leishmaniasis.