Characterization of the Eimeria tenella rhoptry protein with a nuclear localization sequence (EtROP30).
ABSTRACT: Rhoptry proteins (ROPs), secreted by specific rhoptry organelles of apicomplexan parasites, are determinants of parasite pathogenesis and sources of vaccine candidates. Twenty-eight ROPs of Eimeria tenella have been predicted by genomic approaches, and in the present study, E. tenella rhoptry protein 30 (EtROP30) was characterized. Subcellular localizations of EtROP30 in sporozoites and merozoites were in the apical complex and rhoptry-like bulb, suggesting that EtROP30 is a member of ROPs in E. tenella. Sequence analysis showed that EtROP30 contained an N-terminal secretory signal, a protein kinase domain with eight E. tenella-specific rhoptry kinase 1 subfamily (ROPK-Eten1) motifs, and a C-terminal nuclear localization sequence (NLS), making EtROP30 the only ROP that contains both a secretory signal and an NLS in E. tenella. Subsequent experiments showed that EtROP30 was a secreted protein in the sporozoite stage, relying on NLS for migration to the host nucleus. In addition, EtROP30 showed significantly higher expression levels in the parasite merozoite stage, indicating that EtROP30 plays a critical role during parasite reinvasion and development and may be a viable option as a vaccine candidate for anti-parasitic infection. The immunization protection efficacies of EtROP30 were evaluated. Significant improvements in mean body weight gain, reduction of cecum lesion score, and number of oocysts excreted were observed, indicating that EtROP30 has good immunogenicity against E. tenella. In the present study, a ROP of E. tenella with secretory and nuclear localization characteristics has been identified, and proved to be an effective vaccine candidate against this parasite.
Project description:Eimeria tenella (E. tenella) is a highly pathogenic and prevalent species of Eimeria that infects chickens, and it causes a considerable disease burden worldwide. The secreted proteins and surface antigens of E. tenella at the sporozoite stage play an essential role in the host-parasite interaction, which involves attachment and invasion, and these interactions are considered vaccine candidates based on the strategy of cutting off the invasion pathway to interrupt infection. We selected two highly expressed surface antigens (SAGs; Et-SAG13 and Et-SAG) and two highly expressed secreted antigens (rhoptry kinases Eten5-A, Et-ROPK-Eten5-A and dense granule 12, Et-GRA12) at the sporozoite stage. Et-ROPK-Eten5-A and Et-GRA12 were two unexplored proteins. Et-ROPK-Eten5-A was an E. tenella-specific rhoptry (ROP) protein and distributed in the apical pole of sporozoites and merozoites. Et-GRA12 was scattered in granular form at the sporozoite stage. To evaluate the potential of rEt-ROPK-Eten5-A, rEt-GRA12, rEt-SAG13 and rEt-SAG proteins as a coccidiosis vaccine, the protective efficacy was examined based on survival rate, lesion score, body weight gain, relative body weight gain and oocyst output. The survival rate was significantly improved in rEt-ROPK-Eten5-A (100%) and rEt-GRA12 (100%) immune chickens compared to the challenged control group (40%). The average body weight gains of rEt-ROPK-Eten5-A, rEt-GRA12, rEt-SAG13 and rEt-SAG immunized chickens were significantly higher than those of unimmunized chickens. The mean lesion score and oocyst output of the rEt-ROPK-Eten5-A immunized chickens were significantly reduced compared to unimmunized challenged chickens. These results suggest that the rEt-ROPK-Eten5-A protein effectively triggered protection against E. tenella in chickens and provides a useful foundation for future work developing anticoccidial vaccines.
Project description:<h4>Unlabelled</h4>Ingestion of the obligate intracellular protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii causes an acute infection that leads to chronic infection of the host. To facilitate the acute phase of the infection, T. gondii manipulates the host response by secreting rhoptry organelle proteins (ROPs) into host cells during its invasion. A few key ROP proteins with signatures of kinases or pseudokinases (ROPKs) act as virulence factors that enhance parasite survival against host gamma interferon-stimulated innate immunity. However, the roles of these and other ROPK proteins in establishing chronic infection have not been tested. Here, we deleted 26 ROPK gene loci encoding 31 unique ROPK proteins of type II T. gondii and show that numerous ROPK proteins influence the development of chronic infection. Cyst burdens were increased in the ?rop16 knockout strain or moderately reduced in 11 ROPK knockout strains. In contrast, deletion of ROP5, ROP17, ROP18, ROP35, or ROP38/29/19 (ROP38, ROP29, and ROP19) severely reduced cyst burdens. ?rop5 and ?rop18 knockout strains were less resistant to host immunity-related GTPases (IRGs) and exhibited >100-fold-reduced virulence. ROP18 kinase activity and association with the parasitophorous vacuole membrane were necessary for resistance to host IRGs. The ?rop17 strain exhibited a >12-fold defect in virulence; however, virulence was not affected in the ?rop35 or ?rop38/29/19 strain. Resistance to host IRGs was not affected in the ?rop17, ?rop35, or ?rop38/29/19 strain. Collectively, these findings provide the first definitive evidence that the type II T. gondii ROPK proteome functions as virulence factors and facilitates additional mechanisms of host manipulation that are essential for chronic infection and transmission of T. gondii<h4>Importance</h4>Reactivation of chronic Toxoplasma gondii infection in individuals with weakened immune systems causes severe toxoplasmosis. Existing treatments for toxoplasmosis are complicated by adverse reactions to chemotherapy. Understanding key parasite molecules required for chronic infection provides new insights into potential mechanisms that can interrupt parasite survival or persistence in the host. This study reveals that key secreted rhoptry molecules are used by the parasite to establish chronic infection of the host. Certain rhoptry proteins were found to be critical virulence factors that resist innate immunity, while other rhoptry proteins were found to influence chronic infection without affecting virulence. This study reveals that rhoptry proteins utilize multiple mechanisms of host manipulation to establish chronic infection of the host. Targeted disruption of parasite rhoptry proteins involved in these biological processes opens new avenues to interfere with chronic infection with the goal to either eliminate chronic infection or to prevent recrudescent infections.
Project description:Kinome from apicomplexan parasites is composed of eukaryotic protein kinases and Apicomplexa specific kinases, such as rhoptry kinases (ROPK). <i>Ropk</i> is a gene family that is known to play important roles in host-pathogen interaction in <i>Toxoplasma gondii</i> but is still poorly described in <i>Eimeria tenella</i>, the parasite responsible for avian coccidiosis worldwide. In the <i>E. tenella</i> genome, 28 <i>ropk</i> genes are predicted and could be classified as active (<i>n</i> = 7), inactive (incomplete catalytic triad, <i>n</i> = 12), and non-canonical kinases (active kinase with a modified catalytic triad, <i>n</i> = 9). We characterized the <i>ropk</i> gene expression patterns by real-time quantitative RT-PCR, normalized by parasite housekeeping genes, during the <i>E. tenella</i> life-cycle. Analyzed stages were: non-sporulated oocysts, sporulated oocysts, extracellular and intracellular sporozoites, immature and mature schizonts I, first- and second-generation merozoites, and gametes. Transcription of all those predicted <i>ropk</i> was confirmed. The mean intensity of transcription was higher in extracellular stages and 7-9 <i>ropk</i> were specifically transcribed in merozoites in comparison with sporozoites. Transcriptional profiles of intracellular stages were closely related to each other, suggesting a probable common role of ROPKs in hijacking signaling pathways and immune responses in infected cells. These results provide a solid basis for future functional analysis of ROPK from <i>E. tenella</i>.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The widespread protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii interferes with host cell functions by exporting the contents of a unique apical organelle, the rhoptry. Among the mix of secreted proteins are an expanded, lineage-specific family of protein kinases termed rhoptry kinases (ROPKs), several of which have been shown to be key virulence factors, including the pseudokinase ROP5. The extent and details of the diversification of this protein family are poorly understood. RESULTS:In this study, we comprehensively catalogued the ROPK family in the genomes of Toxoplasma gondii, Neospora caninum and Eimeria tenella, as well as portions of the unfinished genome of Sarcocystis neurona, and classified the identified genes into 42 distinct subfamilies. We systematically compared the rhoptry kinase protein sequences and structures to each other and to the broader superfamily of eukaryotic protein kinases to study the patterns of diversification and neofunctionalization in the ROPK family and its subfamilies. We identified three ROPK sub-clades of particular interest: those bearing a structurally conserved N-terminal extension to the kinase domain (NTE), an E. tenella-specific expansion, and a basal cluster including ROP35 and BPK1 that we term ROPKL. Structural analysis in light of the solved structures ROP2, ROP5, ROP8 and in comparison to typical eukaryotic protein kinases revealed ROPK-specific conservation patterns in two key regions of the kinase domain, surrounding a ROPK-conserved insert in the kinase hinge region and a disulfide bridge in the kinase substrate-binding lobe. We also examined conservation patterns specific to the NTE-bearing clade. We discuss the possible functional consequences of each. CONCLUSIONS:Our work sheds light on several important but previously unrecognized features shared among rhoptry kinases, as well as the essential differences between active and degenerate protein kinases. We identify the most distinctive ROPK-specific features conserved across both active kinases and pseudokinases, and discuss these in terms of sequence motifs, evolutionary context, structural impact and potential functional relevance. By characterizing the proteins that enable these parasites to invade the host cell and co-opt its signaling mechanisms, we provide guidance on potential therapeutic targets for the diseases caused by coccidian parasites.
Project description:Coccidia are obligate intracellular protozoan parasites responsible for human and veterinary diseases. Eimeria tenella, the aetiologic agent of caecal coccidiosis, is a major pathogen of chickens. In Toxoplasma gondii, some kinases from the rhoptry compartment (ROP) are key virulence factors. ROP kinases hijack and modulate many cellular functions and pathways, allowing T. gondii survival and development. E. tenella's kinome comprises 28 putative members of the ROP kinase family; most of them are predicted, as pseudokinases and their functions have never been characterised. One of the predicted kinase, EtROP1, was identified in the rhoptry proteome of E. tenella sporozoites. Here, we demonstrated that EtROP1 is active, and the N-terminal extension is necessary for its catalytic kinase activity. Ectopic expression of EtROP1 followed by co-immunoprecipitation identified cellular p53 as EtROP1 partner. Further characterisation confirmed the interaction and the phosphorylation of p53 by EtROP1. E. tenella infection or overexpression of EtROP1 resulted both in inhibition of host cell apoptosis and G0/G1 cell cycle arrest. This work functionally described the first ROP kinase from E. tenella and its noncanonical structure. Our study provides the first mechanistic insight into host cell apoptosis inhibition by E. tenella. EtROP1 appears as a new candidate for coccidiosis control.
Project description:The intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii employs a vast array of effector proteins from the rhoptry and dense granule organelles to modulate host cell biology; these effectors are known as ROPs and GRAs, respectively. To examine the individual impacts of ROPs and GRAs on host gene expression, we developed a robust, novel protocol to enrich for ultrapure populations of a naturally occurring and reproducible population of host cells called uninfected-injected (U-I) cells, which Toxoplasma injects with ROPs but subsequently fails to invade. We then performed single-cell transcriptomic analysis at 1 to 3?h postinfection on U-I cells (as well as on uninfected and infected controls) arising from infection with either wild-type parasites or parasites lacking the MYR1 protein, which is required for soluble GRAs to cross the parasitophorous vacuole membrane (PVM) and reach the host cell cytosol. Based on comparisons of infected and U-I cells, the host's earliest response to infection appears to be driven primarily by the injected ROPs, which appear to induce immune and cellular stress pathways. These ROP-dependent proinflammatory signatures appear to be counteracted by at least some of the MYR1-dependent GRAs and may be enhanced by the MYR-independent GRAs (which are found embedded within the PVM). Finally, signatures detected in uninfected bystander cells from the infected monolayers suggest that MYR1-dependent paracrine effects also counteract inflammatory ROP-dependent processes.IMPORTANCE This work performs transcriptomic analysis of U-I cells, captures the earliest stage of a host cell's interaction with Toxoplasma gondii, and dissects the effects of individual classes of parasite effectors on host cell biology.
Project description:Toxoplasmosis is a cosmopolitan zoonotic infection, caused by a unicellular protozoan parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii that belongs to the phylum Apicomplexa. It is estimated that over one-third of the world's population has been exposed and are latently infected with the parasite. In humans, toxoplasmosis is predominantly asymptomatic in immunocompetent persons, while among immunocompromised individuals may be cause severe and progressive complications with poor prognosis. Moreover, seronegative pregnant mothers are other risk groups for acquiring the infection. The life cycle of T. gondii is very complex, indicating the presence of a plurality of antigenic epitopes. Despite of great advances, recognize and construct novel vaccines for prevent and control of toxoplasmosis in both humans and animals is still remains a great challenge for researchers to select potential protein sequences as the ideal antigens. Notably, in several past years, constant efforts of researchers have made considerable advances to elucidate the different aspects of the cell and molecular biology of T. gondii mainly on microneme antigens, dense granule antigens, surface antigens, and rhoptry proteins (ROP). These attempts thereby provided great impetus to the present focus on vaccine development, according to the defined subcellular components of the parasite. Although, currently there is no commercial vaccine for use in humans. Among the main identified T. gondii antigens, ROPs appear as a putative vaccine candidate that are vital for invasion procedure as well as survival within host cells. Overall, it is estimated that they occupy about 1%-30% of the total parasite cell volume. In this review, we have summarized the recent progress of ROP-based vaccine development through various strategies from DNA vaccines, epitope or multi epitope-based vaccines, recombinant protein vaccines to vaccines based on live-attenuated vectors and prime-boost strategies in different mouse models.
Project description:The origin of the vacuole membrane surrounding the intracellular protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii is not known. Although unique secretory organelles, the rhoptries, discharge during invasion of the host cell and may contribute to the formation of this parasitophorous vacuole membrane (PVM), no direct evidence for this hypothesis exists. Using a novel approach we have determined that parasite-encoded proteins are present in the PVM, exposed to the host cell cytoplasm. In infected cells incubated with streptolysin-O or low concentrations of digitonin, the host cell plasma membrane was selectively permeabilized without significantly affecting the integrity of the PVM. Antisera prepared against whole parasites or a parasite fraction enriched in rhoptries and dense granules reacted with the PVM in these permeabilized cells, indicating that parasite-encoded antigens were exposed on the cytoplasmic side of the PVM. Parasite antigens responsible for this staining of the PVM were identified by fractionating total parasite proteins by SDS-PAGE and velocity sedimentation, and then affinity purifying "fraction-specific" antibodies from the crude antisera. Proteins responsible for the PVM-staining, identified with fraction-specific antibodies, cofractionated with known rhoptry proteins. The gene encoding one of the rhoptry proteins, ROP 2, was cloned and sequenced, predicting and integral membrane protein. Antibodies specific for ROP 2 reacted with the intact PVM. These results provide the first direct evidence that rhoptry contents participate in the formation of the PVM of T. gondii and suggest a possible role of ROP 2 in parasite-host cell interactions.
Project description:Apicomplexan parasites secrete and inject into the host cell the content of specialized secretory organelles called rhoptries, which take part into critical processes such as host cell invasion and modulation of the host cell immune response. The rhoptries are structurally and functionally divided into two compartments. The apical duct contains rhoptry neck (RON) proteins that are conserved in Apicomplexa and are involved in formation of the moving junction (MJ) driving parasite invasion. The posterior bulb contains rhoptry proteins (ROPs) unique to an individual genus and, once injected in the host cell act as effector proteins to co-opt host processes and modulate parasite growth and virulence. We describe here two new RON proteins of Toxoplasma gondii, RON9 and RON10, which form a high molecular mass complex. In contrast to the other RONs described to date, this complex was not detected at the MJ during invasion and therefore was not associated to the MJ complex RON2/4/5/8. Disruptions of either RON9 or RON10 gene leads to the retention of the partner in the ER followed by subsequent degradation, suggesting that the RON9/RON10 complex formation is required for proper sorting to the rhoptries. Finally, we show that the absence of RON9/RON10 has no significant impact on the morphology of rhoptry, on the invasion and growth in fibroblasts in vitro or on virulence in vivo. The conservation of RON9 and RON10 in Coccidia and Cryptosporidia suggests a specific relation with development in intestinal epithelial cells.
Project description:<i>Toxoplasma gondii</i> is an obligatory intracellular apicomplexan protozoan which can infect any warm-blooded animal and causes severe diseases in immunocompromised individuals or infants infected in utero. The survival and success of this parasite require that it colonizes the host cell, avoids host immune defenses, replicates within an appropriate niche, and exits the infected host cell to spread to neighboring non-infected cells. All of these processes depend on the parasite ability to synthesis and export secreted proteins. Amongst the secreted proteins, rhoptry organelle proteins (ROPs) are essential for the parasite invasion and host cell manipulation. Even though the functions of most ROPs have been elucidated in the less virulent <i>T. gondii</i> (type II), the roles of ROPs in the highly virulent type I strain remain largely un-characterized. Herein, we investigated the contributions of 15 ROPs (ROP10, ROP11, ROP15, ROP20, ROP23, ROP31, ROP32, ROP33, ROP34, ROP35, ROP36, ROP40, ROP41, ROP46, and ROP47) to the infectivity of the high virulent type I <i>T. gondii</i> (RH strain). Using CRISPR-Cas9, these 15 ROPs genes were successfully disrupted and the effects of gene knockout on the parasite's ability to infect cells <i>in vitro</i> and BALB/c mice <i>in vivo</i> were investigated. These results showed that deletions of these ROPs did not interfere with the parasite ability to grow in cultured human foreskin fibroblast cells and did not significantly alter parasite pathogenicity for BALB/c mice. Although these ROPs did not seem to be essential for the acute infectious stage of type I <i>T. gondii</i> in the mouse model, they might have different functions in other intermediate hosts or play different roles in other life cycle forms of this parasite due to the different expression patterns; this warrants further investigations.