Stress susceptibility in Trypanosoma brucei lacking the RNA-binding protein ZC3H30.
ABSTRACT: Trypanosomes rely on post-transcriptional mechanisms and mRNA-binding proteins for control of gene expression. Trypanosoma brucei ZC3H30 is an mRNA-binding protein that is expressed in both the bloodstream form (which grows in mammals) and the procyclic form (which grows in the tsetse fly midgut). Attachment of ZC3H30 to an mRNA causes degradation of that mRNA. Cells lacking ZC3H30 showed no growth defect under normal culture conditions; but they were more susceptible than wild-type cells to heat shock, starvation, and treatment with DTT, arsenite or ethanol. Transcriptomes of procyclic-form trypanosomes lacking ZC3H30 were indistinguishable from those of cells in which ZC3H30 had been re-expressed, but un-stressed bloodstream forms lacking ZC3H30 had about 2-fold more HSP70 mRNA. Results from pull-downs suggested that ZC3H30 mRNA binding may not be very specific. ZC3H30 was found in stress-induced granules and co-purified with another stress granule protein, Tb927.8.3820; but RNAi targeting Tb927.8.3820 did not affect either ZC3H30 granule association or stress resistance. The conservation of the ZC3H30 gene in both monogenetic and digenetic kinetoplastids, combined with the increased stress susceptibility of cells lacking it, suggests that ZC3H30 confers a selective advantage in the wild, where the parasites are subject to temperature fluctuations and immune attack in both the insect and mammalian hosts.
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 Trypanosoma brucei genome encodes three groups of zinc metalloproteases, each of which contains approximately 30% amino acid identity with the major surface protease (MSP, also called GP63) of Leishmania. One of these proteases, TbMSP-B, is encoded by four nearly identical, tandem genes transcribed in both bloodstream and procyclic trypanosomes. Earlier work showed that RNA interference against TbMSP-B prevents release of a recombinant variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) from procyclic trypanosomes. Here, we used gene deletions to show that TbMSP-B and a phospholipase C (GPI-PLC) act in concert to remove native VSG during differentiation of bloodstream trypanosomes to procyclic form. When the four tandem TbMSP-B genes were deleted from both chromosomal alleles, bloodstream B (-/-) trypanosomes could still differentiate to procyclic form, but VSG was removed more slowly and in a non-truncated form compared to differentiation of wild-type organisms. Similarly, when both alleles of the single-copy GPI-PLC gene were deleted, bloodstream PLC (-/-) cells could still differentiate. However, when all the genes for both TbMSP-B and GPI-PLC were deleted from the diploid genome, the bloodstream B (-/-) PLC (-/-) trypanosomes did not proliferate in the differentiation medium, and 60% of the VSG remained on the cell surface. Inhibitors of cysteine proteases did not affect this result. These findings demonstrate that removal of 60% of the VSG during differentiation from bloodstream to procyclic form is due to the synergistic activities of GPI-PLC and TbMSP-B.
Project description:PUF proteins are a conserved family of RNA binding proteins found in all eukaryotes examined so far. This study focussed on PUF5, one of 11 PUF family members encoded in the Trypanosoma brucei genome. Native PUF5 is present at less than 50000 molecules per cell in both bloodstream and procyclic form trypanosomes. C-terminally myc-tagged PUF5 was mainly found in the cytoplasm and could be cross-linked to RNA. PUF5 knockdown by RNA interference had no effect on the growth of bloodstream forms. Procyclic forms lacking PUF5 grew normally, but expression of PUF5 bearing a 21 kDa tandem affinity purification tag inhibited growth. Knockdown of PUF5 did not have any effect on the ability of trypanosomes to differentiate from the mammalian to the insect form of the parasite.
Project description:In most organisms, the heat-shock response involves increased heat-shock gene transcription. In Kinetoplastid protists, however, virtually all control of gene expression is post-transcriptional. Correspondingly, Trypanosoma brucei heat-shock protein 70 (HSP70) synthesis after heat shock depends on regulation of HSP70 mRNA turnover. We here show that the T. brucei CCCH zinc finger protein ZC3H11 is a post-transcriptional regulator of trypanosome chaperone mRNAs. ZC3H11 is essential in bloodstream-form trypanosomes and for recovery of insect-form trypanosomes from heat shock. ZC3H11 binds to mRNAs encoding heat-shock protein homologues, with clear specificity for the subset of trypanosome chaperones that is required for protein refolding. In procyclic forms, ZC3H11 was required for stabilisation of target chaperone-encoding mRNAs after heat shock, and the HSP70 mRNA was also decreased upon ZC3H11 depletion in bloodstream forms. Many mRNAs bound to ZC3H11 have a consensus AUU repeat motif in the 3'-untranslated region. ZC3H11 bound preferentially to AUU repeats in vitro, and ZC3H11 regulation of HSP70 mRNA in bloodstream forms depended on its AUU repeat region. Tethering of ZC3H11 to a reporter mRNA increased reporter expression, showing that it is capable of actively stabilizing an mRNA. These results show that expression of trypanosome heat-shock genes is controlled by a specific RNA-protein interaction. They also show that heat-shock-induced chaperone expression in procyclic trypanosome enhances parasite survival at elevated temperatures.
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 protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei has a complex digenetic lifecycle between a mammalian host and an insect vector, and adaption of its proteome between lifecycle stages is essential to its survival and virulence. We have optimized a procedure for growing Trypanosoma brucei procyclic form cells in conditions suitable for stable isotope labeling by amino acids in culture (SILAC) and report a comparative proteomic analysis of cultured procyclic form and bloodstream form T. brucei cells. In total we were able to identify 3959 proteins and quantify SILAC ratios for 3553 proteins with a false discovery rate of 0.01. A large number of proteins (10.6%) are differentially regulated by more the 5-fold between lifecycle stages, including those involved in the parasite surface coat, and in mitochondrial and glycosomal energy metabolism. Our proteomic data is broadly in agreement with transcriptomic studies, but with significantly larger fold changes observed at the protein level than at the mRNA level.
Project description:Trypanosomes are protozoan parasites that cycle between a mammalian host (bloodstream form) and an insect host, the Tsetse fly (procyclic stage). In trypanosomes, all mRNAs are trans-spliced as part of their maturation. Genome-wide analysis of trans-splicing indicates the existence of alternative trans-splicing, but little is known regarding RNA-binding proteins that participate in such regulation. In this study, we performed functional analysis of the Trypanosoma brucei heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNP) F/H homologue, a protein known to regulate alternative splicing in metazoa. The hnRNP F/H is highly expressed in the bloodstream form of the parasite, but is also functional in the procyclic form. Transcriptome analyses of RNAi-silenced cells were used to deduce the RNA motif recognized by this protein. A purine rich motif, AAGAA, was enriched in both the regulatory regions flanking the 3' splice site and poly (A) sites of the regulated genes. The motif was further validated using mini-genes carrying wild-type and mutated sequences in the 3' and 5' UTRs, demonstrating the role of hnRNP F/H in mRNA stability and splicing. Biochemical studies confirmed the binding of the protein to this proposed site. The differential expression of the protein and its inverse effects on mRNA level in the two lifecycle stages demonstrate the role of hnRNP F/H in developmental regulation.
Project description:mRNA expression profiles of trypanosomes from two discrete bloodstream form stages of the parasite (slender and stumpy forms), as well as during the transition of the stumpy population to the procyclic life-cycle stage were studied. Our analysis represents the first comparison of in vivo derived pleomorphic slender cells with genetically identical stumpy forms, and a first analysis of the dynamic changes in mRNA profile that accompany the transition to procyclic forms. Overall design: Twenty nine RNA samples were generated (5 biological replicates of Stumpy (0h), 1h, 6h, 18h and 48h, and 4 biological replicates of slender forms. Four arrays failed QC.
Project description:Trypanosomes are parasites that cycle between the insect host (procyclic form) and mammalian host (bloodstream form). These parasites lack conventional transcription regulation, including factors that induce the unfolded protein response (UPR). However, they possess a stress response mechanism, the spliced leader RNA silencing (SLS) pathway. SLS elicits shut-off of spliced leader RNA (SL RNA) transcription by perturbing the binding of the transcription factor tSNAP42 to its cognate promoter, thus eliminating trans-splicing of all mRNAs. Induction of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in procyclic trypanosomes elicits changes in the transcriptome similar to those induced by conventional UPR found in other eukaryotes. The mechanism of up-regulation under ER stress is dependent on differential stabilization of mRNAs. The transcriptome changes are accompanied by ER dilation and elevation in the ER chaperone, BiP. Prolonged ER stress induces SLS pathway. RNAi silencing of SEC63, a factor that participates in protein translocation across the ER membrane, or SEC61, the translocation channel, also induces SLS. Silencing of these genes or prolonged ER stress led to programmed cell death (PCD), evident by exposure of phosphatidyl serine, DNA laddering, increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, increase in cytoplasmic Ca(2+), and decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential, as well as typical morphological changes observed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). ER stress response is also induced in the bloodstream form and if the stress persists it leads to SLS. We propose that prolonged ER stress induces SLS, which serves as a unique death pathway, replacing the conventional caspase-mediated PCD observed in higher eukaryotes.
Project description:Polyadenylation plays an important role in regulating RNA stability in Trypanosoma brucei mitochondria. To date, little is known about the enzymes responsible for the addition of mRNA 3' tails in this system. In this study, we characterize a trypanosome homolog of the human mitochondrial poly(A) polymerase, which we term kPAP2. kPAP2 is mitochondrially localized and expressed in both bloodstream and procyclic form trypanosomes. Targeted gene depletion using RNAi showed that kPAP2 is not required for T. brucei growth in either bloodstream or procyclic life stages, nor is it essential for differentiation from bloodstream to procyclic form. We also demonstrate that steady state abundance of several mitochondrial RNAs was largely unaffected upon kPAP2 down-regulation. Interestingly, mRNA 3' tail analysis of several mRNAs from both life cycle stages in uninduced kPAP2 RNAi cells demonstrated that tail length and uridine content are both regulated in a transcript-specific manner. mRNA-specific tail lengths were maintained upon kPAP2 depletion. However, the percentage of uridine residues in 3' tails was increased, and conversely the percentage of adenosine residues was decreased, in a distinct subset of mRNAs when kPAP2 levels were down-regulated. Thus, kPAP2 apparently contributes to the incorporation of adenosine residues in 3' tails of some, but not all, mitochondrial mRNAs. Together, these data suggest that multiple nucleotidyltransferases act on mitochondrial mRNA 3' ends, and that these enzymes are somewhat redundant and subject to complex regulation.