Role of prostaglandin F2? production in lipid bodies from Leishmania infantum chagasi: insights on virulence.
ABSTRACT: Lipid bodies (LB; lipid droplets) are cytoplasmic organelles involved in lipid metabolism. Mammalian LBs display an important role in host-pathogen interactions, but the role of parasite LBs in biosynthesis of prostaglandin F2? (PGF2?) has not been investigated. We report herein that LBs increased in abundance during development of Leishmania infantum chagasi to a virulent metacyclic stage, as did the expression of PGF2? synthase (PGFS). The amount of parasite LBs and PGF2? were modulated by exogenous arachidonic acid. During macrophage infection, LBs were restricted to parasites inside the parasitophorous vacuoles (PV). We detected PGF2? receptor (FP) on the Leishmania PV surface. The blockage of FP with AL8810, a selective antagonist, hampered Leishmania infection, whereas the irreversible inhibition of cyclooxygenase with aspirin increased the parasite burden. These data demonstrate novel functions for parasite-derived LBs and PGF2? in the cellular metabolism of Leishmania and its evasion of the host immune response.
Project description:Leishmania infantum chagasi is the causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis in Brazil. Polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) analysis of kinetoplast DNA (kDNA) minicircles was used to evaluate genetic profiles of 48 Leishmania infantum chagasi strains from dog and human parasite cultures, fresh collected dog bone marrow aspirates, and from infected sand flies. Results revealed that heterogeneity in kDNA minicircles depends mostly on the source of the samples, with cultured parasites showing a high degree of homogeneity.
Project description:Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) remains a major public health problem worldwide. This disease is highly associated with chronic inflammation and a lack of the cellular immune responses against Leishmania. It is important to identify major factors driving the successful establishment of the Leishmania infection to develop better tools for the disease control. Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is a key enzyme triggered by cellular stress, and its role in VL has not been investigated. In this study, we evaluated the role of HO-1 in the infection by Leishmania infantum chagasi, the causative agent of VL cases in Brazil. We found that L. chagasi infection or lipophosphoglycan isolated from promastigotes triggered HO-1 production by murine macrophages. Interestingly, cobalt protoporphyrin IX, an HO-1 inductor, increased the parasite burden in both mouse and human-derived macrophages. Upon L. chagasi infection, macrophages from Hmox1 knockout mice presented significantly lower parasite loads when compared with those from wild-type mice. Furthermore, upregulation of HO-1 by cobalt protoporphyrin IX diminished the production of TNF-? and reactive oxygen species by infected murine macrophages and increased Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase expression in human monocytes. Finally, patients with VL presented higher systemic concentrations of HO-1 than healthy individuals, and this increase of HO-1 was reduced after antileishmanial treatment, suggesting that HO-1 is associated with disease susceptibility. Our data argue that HO-1 has a critical role in the L. chagasi infection and is strongly associated with the inflammatory imbalance during VL. Manipulation of HO-1 pathways during VL could serve as an adjunctive therapeutic approach.
Project description:Visceral leishmaniasis is a potentially fatal infectious disease caused by the protozoan parasite Leishmania infantum/chagasi in the New World, or by L. donovani or L. infantum/chagasi in the Old World. Infection leads to a variety of outcomes ranging from asymptomatic infection to active disease, characterized by fevers, cachexia, hepatosplenomegaly and suppressed immune responses. We reasoned that events occurring during the initial few hours when the parasite encounters cells of the innate and adaptive immune systems are likely to influence the eventual immune response that develops. Therefore, we performed gene expression analysis using Affymetrix U133Plus2 microarray chips to investigate a model of early infection with human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) challenged with wild-type L. chagasi parasites, with or without subsequent co-culture with Leishmania-naïve, autologous T-cells. Microarray data generated from total RNA were analyzed with software from the Bioconductor Project and functional clustering and pathway analysis were performed with DAVID and Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA), respectively. Many transcripts were down-regulated by infection in cultures containing macrophages alone, and the pattern indicated a lack of a classically activated phenotype. By contrast, the addition of autologous Leishmania-naïve T cells to infected macrophages resulted in a pattern of gene expression including many markers of type 1 immune cytokine activation (IFN-gamma, IL-6, IL-1alpha, IL-1beta). There was simultaneous up-regulation of a few markers of immune modulation (IL-10 cytokine accumulation; TGF-beta Signaling Pathway). We suggest that the initial encounter between L. chagasi and cells of the innate and adaptive immune system stimulates primarily type 1 immune cytokine responses, despite a lack of classical macrophage activation. This local microenvironment at the site of parasite inoculation may determine the initial course of immune T-cell development.
Project description:We report the cloning of a Leishmania chagasi antigen gene and an evaluation of leishmaniasis patient antibody responses to the recombinant protein, rK39. rK39 contains a 39-amino acid repeat that is part of a 230-kDa protein predominant in L. chagasi tissue amastigotes. Sequence analyses showed this protein, LcKin, to be related to the kinesin superfamily of motor proteins. Southern blot analyses demonstrated LcKin-related sequences in seven species of Leishmania, with conservation of the repeat between L. chagasi and Leishmania donovani. Serological evaluation revealed that 98% (56 of 57) of Brazilian and 100% (52 of 52) of Sudanese visceral leishmaniasis patients have high antibody levels to the rK39 repeat. Detectable anti-K39 antibody was virtually absent in cutaneous and mucosal leishmaniasis patients and in individuals infected with Trypanosoma cruzi. The data show that rK39 may replace crude parasite antigens as a basis for serological diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis.
Project description:Leishmania infantum chagasi is an intracellular protozoan parasite responsible for visceral leishmaniasis, a fatal disease in humans. Heparin-binding proteins (HBPs) are proteins that bind to carbohydrates present in glycoproteins or glycolipids. Evidence suggests that HBPs present on Leishmania surface participate in the adhesion and invasion of parasites to tissues of both invertebrate and vertebrate hosts. In this study, we identified the product with an HSP90 (heat shock protein 90) domain encoded by lipophosphoglycan (LPG3) gene as a L infantum chagasi HBP (HBPLc). Structural analysis using the LPG3 recombinant protein suggests that it is organized as a tetramer. Binding analysis confirms that it is capable of binding heparin with micromolar affinity. Inhibition of adenosine triphosphatase activity in the presence of heparin, molecular modeling, and in silico docking analysis suggests that heparin-binding site superimposes with the adenosine triphosphate-binding site. Together, these results show new properties of LPG3 and suggest an important role in leishmaniasis.
Project description:Despite the increasing number of studies concerning insect immunity, Lutzomyia longipalpis immune responses in the presence of Leishmania infantum chagasi infection has not been widely investigated. The few available studies analyzed the role of the Toll and IMD pathways involved in response against Leishmania and microbial infections. Nevertheless, effector molecules responsible for controlling sand fly infections have not been identified. In the present study we investigated the role a signal transduction pathway, the Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGF-?) pathway, on the interrelation between L. longipalpis and L. i. chagasi. We identified an L. longipalpis homolog belonging to the multifunctional cytokine TGF-? gene family (LlTGF-?), which is closely related to the activin/inhibin subfamily and potentially involved in responses to infections. We investigated this gene expression through the insect development and in adult flies infected with L. i. chagasi. Our results showed that LlTGF-? was expressed in all L. longipalpis developmental stages and was upregulated at the third day post L. i. chagasi infection, when protein levels were also higher as compared to uninfected insects. At this point blood digestion is finished and parasites are in close contact with the insect gut. In addition, we investigated the role of LlTGF-? on L. longipalpis infection by L. i. chagasi using either gene silencing by RNAi or pathway inactivation by addition of the TGF-? receptor inhibitor SB431542. The blockage of the LlTGF-? pathway increased significantly antimicrobial peptides expression and nitric oxide levels in the insect gut, as expected. Both methods led to a decreased L. i. chagasi infection. Our results show that inactivation of the L. longipalpis TGF-? signal transduction pathway reduce L. i. chagasi survival, therefore suggesting that under natural conditions the parasite benefits from the insect LlTGF-? pathway, as already seen in Plamodium infection of mosquitoes.
Project description:Cellular immune mechanisms resulting in gamma interferon production are critical for protection against visceral leishmaniasis. Antigens stimulating T-cell responses are likely present in the intracellular amastigote form of the parasite, since this is the form found in a mammalian host. To identify T-cell antigens of Leishmania chagasi, the parasite causing South American visceral leishmaniasis, we used a double antibody-T-cell technique to screen an amastigote cDNA library. One cDNA selected (Lcr1) encodes an antigen that stimulated proliferation of splenic T lymphocytes from infected mice that were either resistant (C3H.HeJ) or susceptible (BALB/c) to L. chagasi infection. The Lcr1 cDNA contains four highly divergent 201-bp repeats homologous to the 204-bp repeat of a Trypanosoma cruzi flagellar antigen gene. Results are consistent with a single copy of the Lcr1 gene producing an mRNA of > 10 kb and a protein of > 200 kDa. Recombinant Lcr1, cloned adjacent to polyhistidine and purified on a nickel affinity column, stimulated gamma interferon but not interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-5, or IL-10 secretion by T-cell-enriched splenocytes from either susceptible or resistant mice during L. chagasi infection. Immunization with Lcr1 partially protected BALB/c mice against challenge with L. chagasi, indicating the utility of the double screening approach in selecting relevant T-cell antigens.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Nucleosomal histones are intracellular proteins that are highly conserved among Leishmania species. After parasite destruction or spontaneous lysis, exposure to these proteins elicits a strong host immune response. In the present study, we analyzed the protective capability of Leishmania infantum chagasi nucleosomal histones against L. braziliensis infection using different immunization strategies.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>BALB/c mice were immunized with either a plasmid DNA cocktail (DNA) containing four Leishmania nucleosomal histones or with the DNA cocktail followed by the corresponding recombinant proteins plus CpG (DNA/Protein). Mice were later challenged with L. braziliensis, in the presence of sand fly saliva. Lesion development, parasite load and the cellular immune response were analyzed five weeks after challenge. Immunization with either DNA alone or with DNA/Protein was able to inhibit lesion development. This finding was highlighted by the absence of infected macrophages in tissue sections. Further, parasite load at the infection site and in the draining lymph nodes was also significantly lower in vaccinated animals. This outcome was associated with increased expression of IFN-? and down regulation of IL-4 at the infection site.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The data presented here demonstrate the potential use of L. infantum chagasi nucleosomal histones as targets for the development of vaccines against infection with L. braziliensis, as shown by the significant inhibition of disease development following a live challenge.
Project description:Leishmaniasis is considered by the World Health Organization as one of the infectious parasitic diseases endemic of great relevance and a global public health problem. Pentavalent antimonials used for treatment of this disease are limited and new phytochemicals emerge as an alternative to existing treatments, due to the low toxicity and cost reduction. Usnic acid is uniquely found in lichens and is especially abundant in genera such as Alectoria, Cladonia, Evernia, Lecanora, Ramalina, and Usnea. Usnic acid has been shown to exhibit antiviral, antiprotozoal, antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic activity. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antileishmanial activity of usnic acid on Leishmania infantum chagasi promastigotes and the occurrence of drug-induced ultrastructural damage in the parasite. Usnic acid was effective against the promastigote forms (IC50=18.30±2.00 µg/mL). Structural and ultrastructural aspects of parasite were analyzed. Morphological alterations were observed as blebs in cell membrane and shapes given off, increasing the number of cytoplasmic vacuoles, and cellular and mitochondrial swelling, with loss of cell polarity. We concluded that the usnic acid presented antileishmanial activity against promastigote forms of Leishmania infantum chagasi and structural and ultrastructural analysis reinforces its cytotoxicity. Further, in vitro studies are warranted to further evaluate this potential.