Tocopherol biosynthesis in Leishmania (L.) amazonensis promastigotes.
ABSTRACT: Leishmaniasis is a neglected disease caused by a trypanosomatid protozoan of the genus Leishmania. Most drugs used to treat leishmaniasis are highly toxic, and the emergence of drug-resistant strains has been observed. Therefore, new therapeutic targets against leishmaniasis are required. Several isoprenoid compounds, including dolichols or ubiquinones, have been shown to be important for cell viability and proliferation in various trypanosomatid species. Here, we detected the biosynthesis of tocopherol in Leishmania (L.) amazonensis promastigotes in vitro through metabolic labelling with [1-(n)-3H]-phytol. Subsequently, we confirmed the presence of vitamin E in the parasite by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Treatment with usnic acid or nitisinone, inhibitors of precursors of vitamin E synthesis, inhibited growth of the parasite in a concentration-dependent manner. This study provides the first evidence of tocopherol biosynthesis in a trypanosomatid and suggests that inhibitors of the enzyme 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase may be suitable for use as antileishmanial compounds. Database:The amino acid sequence of a conserved hypothetical protein [Leishmania mexicana MHOM/GT/2001/U1103] has been deposited in GenBank (CBZ28005.1).
Project description:Isoprenoid synthesis provides a diverse class of biomolecules including sterols, dolichols, ubiquinones and prenyl groups. The enzyme farnesyl pyrophosphate synthase (FPPS) catalyzes the formation of farnesyl pyrophosphate, a key intermediate for the biosynthesis of all isoprenoids. In Leishmania, FPPS is considered the main target of nitrogen containing bisphosphonates, yet the essentiality of this enzyme remains untested. Using a facilitated knockout approach, we carried out the genetic analysis of FPPS in Leishmania major. Our data indicated that chromosomal null mutants for FPPS could only be generated in presence of an episomally expressed FPPS. Long-term retention of the episome by the chromosomal FPPS-null mutants in culture and in infected BALB/c mice suggests that FPPS is indispensable. In addition, applying negative selection pressure failed to induce the loss of ectopic FPPS in the chromosomal FPPS-null mutants, although it led to significant growth delay in culture and in mice. Together, our findings have confirmed the essentiality of FPPS in both promastigotes and amastigotes in L. major and thus validate its potential as a drug target for the treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis.
Project description:Farnesol, geranylgeraniol, dolichols and ubiquinones were the main radioactive components of the unsaponifiable lipid recovered from Phytophthora cactorum grown in aerated cultures containing [2-(14)C]mevalonate. The (14)C recovered in each of these components was in the approximate proportion 2:4:3:5. When the culture was not aerated no radioactive ubiquinone was recovered. Most of the (14)C recovered in the dolichols was found in dolichol-15 (37%), with decreasing amounts in dolichol-14 (30%) and -13 (14%) and only a little (5%) in dolichol-16, whereas the major components, by weight, of the mixture (13mug/g of damp-dry tissue) were dolichol-14, -15 and -16 in the approximate proportion of 1:3:1. Radioautography of appropriate chromatograms indicated the presence also of traces of radioactivity in dolichol-9, -10, -11, -12 and -17. Most (80%) of the (14)C recovered in the ubiquinones was associated with ubiquinone-9, the rest being in ubiquinone-8. Most (80%) of the weight of ubiquinones (19mug/g of damp-dry tissue) was also ubiquinone-9. The identification of these compounds was by chromatographic methods and, for the ubiquinones and dolichols, was confirmed by mass spectrometry. In addition, the incorporation of 4R- and/or 4S-(3)H from [4-(3)H]-mevalonates showed the expected stereochemistry of biosynthesis, namely that farnesol, geranylgeraniol and ubiquinones were biogenetically all trans and the dolichols each contained three biogenetically trans isoprene residues, the remaining residues being biogenetically cis. The distribution of (14)C in the components of the whole lipid of the fungus was consistent with 97% of both the farnesol and geranylgeraniol being present as the fatty acid ester. The corresponding value for dolichols was 37%. The observation by other workers, that this fungus does not form either squalene or sterol, was confirmed.
Project description:Leishmaniasis is an infectious disease caused by Leishmania species. Leishmania amazonensis is a New World Leishmania species belonging to the Mexicana complex, which is able to cause all types of leishmaniasis infections. The L. amazonensis reference strain MHOM/BR/1973/M2269 was sequenced identifying 8,802 codifying sequences (CDS), most of them of hypothetical function. Comparative analysis using six Leishmania species showed a core set of 7,016 orthologs. L. amazonensis and Leishmania mexicana share the largest number of distinct orthologs, while Leishmania braziliensis presented the largest number of inparalogs. Additionally, phylogenomic analysis confirmed the taxonomic position for L. amazonensis within the "Mexicana complex", reinforcing understanding of the split of New and Old World Leishmania. Potential non-homologous isofunctional enzymes (NISE) were identified between L. amazonensis and Homo sapiens that could provide new drug targets for development.
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.
Project description:Trypanosomatid parasites are causative agents of important human and animal diseases such as sleeping sickness and leishmaniasis. Most trypanosomatids are transmitted to their mammalian hosts by insects, often belonging to Diptera (or true flies). These are called dixenous trypanosomatids since they infect two different hosts, in contrast to those that infect just insects (monoxenous). However, it is still unclear whether dixenous and monoxenous trypanosomatids interact similarly with their insect host, as fly-monoxenous trypanosomatid interaction systems are rarely reported and under-studied-despite being common in nature. Here we present the genome of monoxenous trypanosomatid Herpetomonas muscarum and discuss its transcriptome during in vitro culture and during infection of its natural insect host Drosophila melanogaster. The H. muscarum genome is broadly syntenic with that of human parasite Leishmania major. We also found strong similarities between the H. muscarum transcriptome during fruit fly infection, and those of Leishmania during sand fly infections. Overall this suggests Drosophila-Herpetomonas is a suitable model for less accessible insect-trypanosomatid host-parasite systems such as sand fly-Leishmania.
Project description:Leishmaniasis is a neglected disease with a broad clinical spectrum which includes asymptomatic infection. A thorough diagnosis, able to distinguish and quantify Leishmania parasites in a clinical sample, constitutes a key step in choosing an appropriate therapy, making an accurate prognosis and performing epidemiological studies. Several molecular techniques have been shown to be effective in the diagnosis of leishmaniasis. In particular, a number of PCR methods have been developed on various target DNA sequences including kinetoplast minicircle constant regions. The first aim of this study was to develop a SYBR green-based qPCR assay for Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum detection and quantification, using kinetoplast minicircle constant region as target. To this end, two assays were compared: the first used previously published primer pairs (qPCR1), whereas the second used a nested primer pairs generating a shorter PCR product (qPCR2). The second aim of this study was to evaluate the possibility to discriminate among subgenera Leishmania (Leishmania) and Leishmania (Viannia) using the qPCR2 assay followed by melting or High Resolution Melt (HRM) analysis. Both assays used in this study showed good sensitivity and specificity, and a good correlation with standard IFAT methods in 62 canine clinical samples. However, the qPCR2 assay allowed to discriminate between Leishmania (Leishmania) and Leishmania (Viannia) subgenera through melting or HRM analysis. In addition to developing assays, we investigated the number and genetic variability of kinetoplast minicircles in the Leishmania (L.) infantum WHO international reference strain (MHOM/TN/80/IPT1), highlighting the presence of minicircle subclasses and sequence heterogeneity. Specifically, the kinetoplast minicircle number per cell was estimated to be 26,566±1,192, while the subclass of minicircles amplifiable by qPCR2 was estimated to be 1,263±115. This heterogeneity, also observed in canine clinical samples, must be taken into account in quantitative PCR-based applications; however, it might also be used to differentiate between Leishmania subgenera.
Project description:Knowledge of viral diversity is expanding greatly, but many lineages remain underexplored. We surveyed RNA viruses in 52 cultured monoxenous relatives of the human parasite Leishmania (Crithidia and Leptomonas), as well as plant-infecting PhytomonasLeptomonas pyrrhocoris was a hotbed for viral discovery, carrying a virus (Leptomonas pyrrhocoris ostravirus 1) with a highly divergent RNA-dependent RNA polymerase missed by conventional BLAST searches, an emergent clade of tombus-like viruses, and an example of viral endogenization. A deep-branching clade of trypanosomatid narnaviruses was found, notable as Leptomonas seymouri bearing Narna-like virus 1 (LepseyNLV1) have been reported in cultures recovered from patients with visceral leishmaniasis. A deep-branching trypanosomatid viral lineage showing strong affinities to bunyaviruses was termed "Leishbunyavirus" (LBV) and judged sufficiently distinct to warrant assignment within a proposed family termed "Leishbunyaviridae" Numerous relatives of trypanosomatid viruses were found in insect metatranscriptomic surveys, which likely arise from trypanosomatid microbiota. Despite extensive sampling we found no relatives of the totivirus Leishmaniavirus (LRV1/2), implying that it was acquired at about the same time the Leishmania became able to parasitize vertebrates. As viruses were found in over a quarter of isolates tested, many more are likely to be found in the >600 unsurveyed trypanosomatid species. Viral loss was occasionally observed in culture, providing potentially isogenic virus-free lines enabling studies probing the biological role of trypanosomatid viruses. These data shed important insights on the emergence of viruses within an important trypanosomatid clade relevant to human disease.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Three new chemical series (bicyclic nitroimidazoles, aminopyrazoles and oxaboroles) were selected by Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative as potential new drug leads for leishmaniasis. Pharmacodynamics studies included both in vitro and in vivo efficacy, cross-resistance profiling against the current antileishmanial reference drugs and evaluation of their cidal activity potential. METHODS:Efficacy against the reference laboratory strains of Leishmania infantum (MHOM/MA(BE)/67/ITMAP263) and L. donovani (MHOM/ET/67/L82) was evaluated in vitro on intracellular amastigotes and in vivo in the early curative hamster model. Cidal activity was assessed over a period of 15 days in an in vitro 'time-to-kill' assay. Cross-resistance was assessed in vitro on a panel of L. infantum strains with different degrees of resistance to either antimony, miltefosine or paromomycin. RESULTS:All lead compounds showed potent and selective in vitro activity against the Leishmania strains tested and no cross-resistance could be demonstrated against any of the current antileishmanial drugs. Cidal activity was obtained in vitro for all series within 15 days of exposure with some differences noted between L. donovani and L. infantum. When evaluated in vivo, all lead compounds showed high efficacy and no adverse effects were observed. CONCLUSIONS:The new lead series were shown to have cidal pharmacodynamic activity. The absence of cross-resistance with any of the current antileishmanial drugs opens possibilities for combination treatment to reduce the likelihood of treatment failures and drug resistance.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Conservation projects in zoos may involve translocation of captive animals, which may lead to pathogen spread. Neotropical mammals are important hosts of Trypanosoma cruzi and Leishmania spp. the etiological agents of Chagas disease and Leishmaniasis respectively. Studies of trypanosomatid-infected mammals and vectors (triatomines and sandflies) in zoos are important for the establishment of surveillance and control measures. OBJECTIVES:We investigated trypanosomatid infections in captive wild mammals, triatomines and sandflies at the Brasília Zoo. METHODS:We collected triatomines during active bimonthly surveys, sampled sandflies using light-traps and obtained blood samples from 74 mammals between 2016 and 2017. We used quantitative PCR to detect trypanosomatids in vectors and mammals. RESULTS:We found a colony of 19 Panstrongylus megistus in the porcupine unit and detected T. cruzi infections in five bugs. We captured 17 sandflies of four species including Nyssomyia whitmani and Lutzomyia longipalpis, but no Leishmania infection was detected. qPCR detected 50 T. cruzi-infected mammals belonging to 24 species and five groups of mammals (Carnivora, Cetartiodactyla, Perissodactyla, Pilosa and Primates); Leishmania DNA was detected in 23 mammals from 15 species, mainly carnivores. We detected trypanosomatid infections in 11 mammals born at the Brasília Zoo. CONCLUSIONS:Our results suggest vector-borne transmission of T. cruzi among maned wolves; measures to reduce the risk of new infections should therefore be taken. We also report sandfly presence and Leishmania-infected mammals at the Brasília Zoo. Translocation of wild mammals in and out of the Brasília Zoo should consider the risk of T. cruzi and Leishmania spread.
Project description:Trypanosomatid parasites of the genus Leishmania are the causative agents of leishmaniasis, a neglected tropical disease with several clinical manifestations. Leishmania major is the causative agent of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), which is largely characterized by ulcerative lesions appearing on the skin. Current treatments of leishmaniasis include pentavalent antimonials and amphotericin B, however, the toxic side effects of these drugs and difficulty with distribution makes these options less than ideal. Miltefosine (MIL) is the first oral treatment available for leishmaniasis. Originally developed for cancer chemotherapy, the mechanism of action of MIL in Leishmania spp. is largely unknown. While treatment with MIL has proven effective, higher tolerance to the drug has been observed, and resistance is easily developed in an in vitro environment. Utilizing stepwise selection we generated MIL-resistant cultures of L. major and characterized the fitness of MIL-resistant L. major. Resistant parasites proliferate at a comparable rate to the wild-type (WT) and exhibit similar apoptotic responses. As expected, MIL-resistant parasites demonstrate decreased susceptibility to MIL, which reduces after the drug is withdrawn from culture. Our data demonstrate metacyclogenesis is elevated in MIL-resistant L. major, albeit these parasites display attenuated in vitro and in vivo virulence and standard survival rates in the natural sandfly vector, indicating that development of experimental resistance to miltefosine does not lead to an increased competitive fitness in L. major.