A Carbohydrate Moiety of Secreted Stage-Specific Glycoprotein 4 Participates in Host Cell Invasion by Trypanosoma cruzi Extracellular Amastigotes.
ABSTRACT: Trypanosoma cruzi is the etiologic agent of Chagas' disease. It is known that amastigotes derived from trypomastigotes in the extracellular milieu are infective in vitro and in vivo. Extracellular amastigotes (EAs) have a stage-specific surface antigen called Ssp-4, a GPI-anchored glycoprotein that is secreted by the parasites. By immunoprecipitation with the Ssp-4-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAb) 2C2 and 1D9, we isolated the glycoprotein from EAs. By mass spectrometry, we identified the core protein of Ssp-4 and evaluated mRNA expression and the presence of Ssp-4 carbohydrate epitopes recognized by mAb1D9. We demonstrated that the carbohydrate epitope recognized by mAb1D9 could promote host cell invasion by EAs. Although infectious EAs express lower amounts of Ssp-4 compared with less-infectious EAs (at the mRNA and protein levels), it is the glycosylation of Ssp-4 (identified by mAb1D9 staining only in infectious strains and recognized by galectin-3 on host cells) that is the determinant of EA invasion of host cells. Furthermore, Ssp-4 is secreted by EAs, either free or associated with parasite vesicles, and can participate in host-cell interactions. The results presented here describe the possible role of a carbohydrate moiety of T. cruzi surface glycoproteins in host cell invasion by EA forms, highlighting the potential of these moieties as therapeutic and vaccine targets for the treatment of Chagas' disease.
Project description:The protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi is the causative agent of Chagas' disease. In mammalian hosts, T. cruzi alternates between trypomastigote and amastigote forms. Additionally, trypomastigotes can differentiate into amastigotes in the extracellular environment generating infective extracellular amastigotes (EAs). Ezrin-radixin-moesin (ERM) are key proteins linking plasma membrane to actin filaments, the major host cell component responsible for EA internalization. Our results revealed that depletion of host ezrin and radixin but not moesin inhibited EAs invasion in HeLa cells. ERM are recruited and colocalize with F-actin at EA invasion sites as shown by confocal microscopy. Invasion assays performed with cells overexpressing ERM showed increased EAs invasion in ezrin and radixin but not moesin overexpressing cells. Finally, time-lapse experiments have shown altered actin dynamics leading to delayed EA internalization in ezrin and radixin depleted cells when compared to control or moesin depleted cells. Altogether, these findings show distinct roles of ERM during EAs invasion, possibly regulating F-actin dynamics and plasma membrane interplay.
Project description:The protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, the aetiological agent of Chagas' disease, has two infective life cycle stages, trypomastigotes and amastigotes. While trypomastigotes actively enter mammalian cells, highly infective extracellular amastigotes (type I?T.?cruzi) rely on actin-mediated uptake, which is generally inefficient in non-professional phagocytes. We found that extracellular amastigotes (EAs) of T.?cruzi?G strain (type I), but not Y strain (type II), were taken up 100-fold more efficiently than inert particles. Mammalian cell lines showed levels of parasite uptake comparable to macrophages, and extensive actin recruitment and polymerization was observed at the site of entry. EA uptake was not dependent on parasite-secreted molecules and required the same molecular machinery utilized by professional phagocytes during large particle phagocytosis. Transcriptional silencing of synaptotagmin VII and CD63 significantly inhibited EA internalization, demonstrating that delivery of supplemental lysosomal membrane to form the phagosome is involved in parasite uptake. Importantly, time-lapse live imaging using fluorescent reporters revealed phagosome-associated modulation of phosphoinositide metabolism during EA uptake that closely resembles what occurs during phagocytosis by macrophages. Collectively, our results demonstrate that T.?cruzi?EAs are potent inducers of phagocytosis in non-professional phagocytes, a process that may facilitate parasite persistence in infected hosts.
Project description:This study evaluated the participation of host cell Rho-family GTPases and their effector proteins in the actin-dependent invasion by Trypanosoma cruzi extracellular amastigotes (EAs). We observed that all proteins were recruited and colocalized with actin at EA invasion sites in live or fixed cells. EA internalization was inhibited in cells depleted in Rac1, N-WASP, and WAVE2. Time-lapse experiments with Rac1, N-WASP and WAVE2 depleted cells revealed that EA internalization kinetics is delayed even though no differences were observed in the proportion of EA-induced actin recruitment in these groups. Overexpression of constitutively active constructs of Rac1 and RhoA altered the morphology of actin recruitments to EA invasion sites. Additionally, EA internalization was increased in cells overexpressing CA-Rac1 but inhibited in cells overexpressing CA-RhoA. WT-Cdc42 expression increased EA internalization, but curiously, CA-Cdc42 inhibited it. Altogether, these results corroborate the hypothesis of EA internalization in non-phagocytic cells by a phagocytosis-like mechanism and present Rac1 as the key Rho-family GTPase in this process.
Project description:Trypanosoma cruzi has three distinct life cycle stages; epimastigote, trypomastigote, and amastigote. Amastigote is the replication stage in host mammalian cells, hence this stage of parasite has clinical significance in drug development research. Presence of extracellular amastigotes (EA) and their infection capability have been known for some decades. Here, we demonstrate that EA can be utilized as an axenic culture to aid in stage-specific study of T. cruzi. Amastigote-like property of axenic amastigote can be sustained in LIT medium at 37°C at least for 1 week, judging from their morphology, amastigote-specific UTR-regulated GFP expression, and stage-specific expression of selected endogenous genes. Inhibitory effect of benznidazole and nifurtimox on axenic amastigotes was comparable to that on intracellular amastigotes. Exogenous nucleic acids can be transfected into EA via conventional electroporation, and selective marker could be utilized for enrichment of transfectants. We also demonstrate that CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene knockout can be performed in EA. Essentiality of the target gene can be evaluated by the growth capability of the knockout EA, either by continuation of axenic culturing or by host infection and following replication as intracellular amastigotes. By taking advantage of the accessibility and sturdiness of EA, we can potentially expand our experimental freedom in studying amastigote stage of T. cruzi.
Project description:A 10-year-old Quarter Horse gelding presented to the Texas A&M University Veterinary Teaching Hospital with a six month-history of ataxia and lameness in the hind limbs. The horse was treated presumptively for equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) based on clinical signs but was ultimately euthanized after its condition worsened. Gross lesions were limited to a small area of reddening in the gray matter of the thoracic spinal cord. Histologically, trypanosome amastigotes morphologically similar to Trypanosoma cruzi, the agent of Chagas disease in humans and dogs, were sporadically detected within segments of the thoracic spinal cord surrounded by mild lymphoplasmacytic inflammation. Ancillary testing for Sarcocystis neurona, Neospora spp., Toxoplasma gondii and Leishmania spp. was negative. Conventional and real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of affected paraffin embedded spinal cord were positive for T. cruzi, and sequencing of the amplified T. cruzi satellite DNA PCR fragment from the horse was homologous with various clones of T. cruzi in GenBank. While canine Chagas disease cases have been widely reported in southern Texas, this is the first report of clinical T. cruzi infection in an equid with demonstrable amastigotes in the spinal cord. In contrast to previous instances of Chagas disease in the central nervous system (CNS) of dogs and humans, no inflammation or T. cruzi amastigotes were detected in the heart of the horse. Based on clinical signs, there is a potential for misdiagnosis of Chagas disease with other infectious diseases that affect the equine CNS. T. cruzi should be considered as a differential diagnosis in horses with neurologic clinical signs and histologic evidence of meningomyelitis that originate in areas where Chagas disease is present. The prevalence of T. cruzi in horses and the role of equids in the parasite life cycle require further study.
Project description:During invasion of host cells by Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease, the elongated, flagellated trypomastigotes remodel into oval amastigotes with no external flagellum. The underlying mechanism of this remodeling and the fate of the flagellum are obscure. We discovered that T. cruzi trypomastigotes discard their flagella via an asymmetric cellular division. The flagellar proteins liberated become among the earliest parasite proteins to enter the MHC-I processing pathway in infected cells. Indeed, paraflagellar rod protein PAR4-specific CD8(+) T cells detect infected host cells >20 hr earlier than immunodominant trans-sialidase-specific T cells. Overexpression of PAR4 in T. cruzi enhanced the subdominant PAR4-specific CD8(+) T cell response, resulting in improved control of a challenge infection. These results provide insights into previously unappreciated events in intracellular invasion by T. cruzi and highlight the importance of T cells that recognize infected host cells early in the infectious process, in the control of infections.
Project description:Obligate intracellular pathogens satisfy their nutrient requirements by coupling to host metabolic processes, often modulating these pathways to facilitate access to key metabolites. Such metabolic dependencies represent potential targets for pathogen control, but remain largely uncharacterized for the intracellular protozoan parasite and causative agent of Chagas disease, Trypanosoma cruzi. Perturbations in host central carbon and energy metabolism have been reported in mammalian T. cruzi infection, with no information regarding the impact of host metabolic changes on the intracellular amastigote life stage. Here, we performed cell-based studies to elucidate the interplay between infection with intracellular T. cruzi amastigotes and host cellular energy metabolism. T. cruzi infection of non-phagocytic cells was characterized by increased glucose uptake into infected cells and increased mitochondrial respiration and mitochondrial biogenesis. While intracellular amastigote growth was unaffected by decreased host respiratory capacity, restriction of extracellular glucose impaired amastigote proliferation and sensitized parasites to further growth inhibition by 2-deoxyglucose. These observations led us to consider whether intracellular T. cruzi amastigotes utilize glucose directly as a substrate to fuel metabolism. Consistent with this prediction, isolated T. cruzi amastigotes transport extracellular glucose with kinetics similar to trypomastigotes, with subsequent metabolism as demonstrated in 13C-glucose labeling and substrate utilization assays. Metabolic labeling of T. cruzi-infected cells further demonstrated the ability of intracellular parasites to access host hexose pools in situ. These findings are consistent with a model in which intracellular T. cruzi amastigotes capitalize on the host metabolic response to parasite infection, including the increase in glucose uptake, to fuel their own metabolism and replication in the host cytosol. Our findings enrich current views regarding available carbon sources for intracellular T. cruzi amastigotes and underscore the metabolic flexibility of this pathogen, a feature predicted to underlie successful colonization of tissues with distinct metabolic profiles in the mammalian host.
Project description:Trypanosoma cruzi is a protozoan parasite that comprises different phylogenetic groups and is the causative agent of Chagas' disease. Different T. cruzi strains present differences in infectivity in in vitro and in vivo experimental models, which are likely related to the expression of different virulence factors. Amastin is a surface glycoprotein abundantly expressed on the intracellular mammalian amastigote form of the parasite. In this study, we showed that a highly infective strain (G strain) of extracellular amastigote (EA) invasive forms expressed reduced RNA levels of amastin compared to a less infective strain (CL). The treatment of HeLa cells with recombinant ?-amastin reduced infectivity of EA forms. However, the ectopic expression of ?-amastin accelerated amastigote differentiation into trypomastigotes. Corroborating the virulence behavior in association with amastin expression, the EAs overexpressing amastin were precociously and robustly observed in the liver of susceptible mouse strains (A/JUnib), whereas parasitemia was never detected in in vivo assays. This is the first report on the regulatory role of amastin in the course of both in vitro and in vivo T. cruzi infection.
Project description:Trypanosoma cruzi is the kinetoplastid protozoan parasite that causes human Chagas disease, a chronic disease with complex outcomes including severe cardiomyopathy and sudden death. In mammalian hosts, T. cruzi colonises a wide range of tissues and cell types where it replicates within the host cell cytoplasm. Like all intracellular pathogens, T. cruzi amastigotes must interact with its immediate host cell environment in a manner that facilitates access to nutrients and promotes a suitable niche for replication and survival. Although potentially exploitable to devise strategies for pathogen control, fundamental knowledge of the host pathways co-opted by T. cruzi during infection is currently lacking. Here, we report that intracellular T. cruzi amastigotes establish close contact with host mitochondria via their single flagellum. Given the key bioenergetic and homeostatic roles of mitochondria, this striking finding suggests a functional role for host mitochondria in the infection process and points to the T. cruzi amastigote flagellum as an active participant in pathogenesis. Our study establishes the basis for future investigation of the molecular and functional consequences of this intriguing host-parasite interaction.
Project description:Intracellular infection and multi-organ colonization by the protozoan parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, underlie the complex etiology of human Chagas disease. While T. cruzi can establish cytosolic residence in a broad range of mammalian cell types, the molecular mechanisms governing this process remain poorly understood. Despite the anticipated capacity for fatty acid synthesis in this parasite, recent observations suggest that intracellular T. cruzi amastigotes may rely on host fatty acid metabolism to support infection. To investigate this prediction, it was necessary to establish baseline lipidome information for the mammalian-infective stages of T. cruzi and their mammalian host cells. An unbiased, quantitative mass spectrometric analysis of lipid fractions was performed with the identification of 1079 lipids within 30 classes. From these profiles we deduced that T. cruzi amastigotes maintain an overall lipid identity that is distinguishable from mammalian host cells. A deeper analysis of the fatty acid moiety distributions within each lipid subclass facilitated the high confidence assignment of host- and parasite-like lipid signatures. This analysis unexpectedly revealed a strong host lipid signature in the parasite lipidome, most notably within its glycerolipid fraction. The near complete overlap of fatty acid moiety distributions observed for host and parasite triacylglycerols suggested that T. cruzi amastigotes acquired a significant portion of their lipidome from host triacylglycerol pools. Metabolic tracer studies confirmed long-chain fatty acid scavenging by intracellular T. cruzi amastigotes, a capacity that was significantly diminished in host cells deficient for de novo triacylglycerol synthesis via the diacylglycerol acyltransferases (DGAT1/2). Reduced T. cruzi amastigote proliferation in DGAT1/2-deficient fibroblasts further underscored the importance of parasite coupling to host triacylglycerol pools during the intracellular infection cycle. Thus, our comprehensive lipidomic dataset provides a substantially enhanced view of T. cruzi infection biology highlighting the interplay between host and parasite lipid metabolism with potential bearing on future therapeutic intervention strategies.