Publications by authors named "Osvaldo P de Melo Neto"

30 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Assessment of a recombinant protein from Leishmania infantum as a novel tool for Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) diagnosis in VL/HIV co-infection cases.

PLoS One 2021 17;16(5):e0251861. Epub 2021 May 17.

Instituto Aggeu Magalhães, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

Visceral Leishmaniasis and HIV-AIDS coinfection (VL/HIV) is considered a life-threatening pathology when undiagnosed and untreated, due to the immunosuppression caused by both diseases. Serological tests largely used for the VL diagnosis include the direct agglutination test (DAT), ELISA and immunochromatographic (ICT) assays. For VL diagnosis in HIV infections, different studies have shown that the use of the DAT assay facilitates the VL diagnosis in co-infected patients, since the performance of the most widely used ELISA and ICT tests, based on the recombinant protein rK39, are much less efficient in HIV co-infections. In this scenario, alternative recombinant antigens may help the development of new serological diagnostic methods which may improve the VL diagnosis for the co-infection cases. This work aimed to evaluate the use of the recombinant Lci2 antigen, related to, but antigenically more diverse than rK39, for VL diagnosis in co-infected sera through ELISA assays. A direct comparison between recombinant Lci2 and rK39 was thus carried out. The two proteins were first tested using indirect ELISA with sera from VL afflicted individuals and healthy controls, with similar performances. They were then tested with two different sets of VL/HIV co-infected cases and a significant drop in performance, for one of these groups, was observed for rK39 (32% sensitivity), but not for Lci2 (98% sensitivity). In fact, an almost perfect agreement (Kappa: 0.93) between the Lci2 ELISA and DAT was observed for the coinfected VL/HIV patients. Lci2 then has the potential to be used as a new tool for the VL diagnosis of VL/HIV co-infections.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0251861PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8128258PMC
May 2021

A Flow Cytometry-Based Serological Assay to Detect Visceral Leishmaniasis in HIV-Infected Patients.

Front Med (Lausanne) 2021 30;8:553280. Epub 2021 Apr 30.

Aggeu Magalhães Institute, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Recife, Brazil.

Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) is a severe parasitic disease that has emerged as an important opportunistic condition in HIV-infected patients and whose control is impaired by inaccurate identification. This is mainly due to the serological tests used for VL having a reduced performance in cases of VL-HIV coinfection due to a low humoral response. In this situation, however, a positive test has even greater diagnostic value when combined with the clinical status. This study aimed to evaluate the application and performance of flow cytometry to detect anti- antibodies in HIV-infected patients. Sera from VL/HIV coinfected patients, characterized using "gold standard" techniques, were compared with sera from healthy controls plus sera from HIV-infected individuals. The flow cytometry results were expressed as levels of IgG reactivity, based on the percentage of positive fluorescent parasites (PPFP). A ROC curve analysis of a serum titration indicated a PPFP of 1.26% as being the cutoff point to segregate positive and negative results. At the 1:2,048 dilution, with 89% sensitivity and 83% specificity, flow cytometry showed greater sensitivity in relation to the serological tests evaluated. Futhermore, flow cytometry was the only assay that positively identified all VL-HIV patients with quantified HIV load. Together, these findings suggest that flow cytometry may be used as an alternative serological approach for VL identification and as a tool to characterize the humoral response against in HIV-infected patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2021.553280DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8119745PMC
April 2021

Gene design, optimization of protein expression and preliminary evaluation of a new chimeric protein for the serological diagnosis of both human and canine visceral leishmaniasis.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2020 07 27;14(7):e0008488. Epub 2020 Jul 27.

Instituto Aggeu Magalhães (IAM)-Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz), Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

Background: Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a major neglected disease, potentially fatal, whose control is still impaired by inefficient and/or expensive treatment and diagnostic methods. The most promising approach for VL diagnosis uses serological assays with recombinant proteins, since they are more efficient and easier to perform. Tests developed for the human form of the disease, however, have not been shown to be efficient for its diagnosis in the canine host, the major reservoir for the American VL.

Methodology/principal Findings: Here, we describe a systematic approach aimed at the production of a new chimeric protein potentially able to be used for both human and canine VL diagnosis and based both on in silico gene design and experimental data. Starting from the previous identification of Leishmania infantum recombinant antigens efficient for the diagnosis of either human or canine VL, three of the best performing antigens were selected (Lci2, Lci3 and Lci12). After a preliminary evaluation validating the chimeric approach, DNA fragments encoding predicted antigenic regions from each protein, enriched with repeats, were joined in various combinations to generate a total of seventeen chimeric genes optimized for prokaryotic expression. These were assessed for optimal expression and purification yield, with four chimeric proteins being efficiently produced. Their diagnostic potential was then evaluated through ELISA assays with sera from VL afflicted humans and dogs. After two rounds of gene design, the results showed high levels of sensitivity for the best chimeric protein, named Q5, in humans (82%) and dogs (100%) with 100% specificity in comparison with healthy controls. A single non-specific reaction was seen with serum from individuals with tegumentary leishmaniasis.

Conclusion: The newly described chimeric protein is potentially useful for the detection of both humans and dogs afflicted with VL, with its use in rapid tests necessary for validation as a new diagnostic tool.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0008488DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7410341PMC
July 2020

Comparative Genomics of Clinical Strains From Brazil Reveals Polyclonal Dissemination and Selective Exchange of Mobile Genetic Elements Associated With Resistance Genes.

Front Microbiol 2020 17;11:1176. Epub 2020 Jun 17.

Aggeu Magalhães Institute (IAM), Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz), Recife, Brazil.

is an opportunistic bacterial pathogen infecting immunocompromised patients and has gained attention worldwide due to its increased antimicrobial resistance. Here, we report a comparative whole-genome sequencing and analysis coupled with an assessment of antibiotic resistance of 46 strains (45 plus one ) originated from five hospitals from the city of Recife, Brazil, between 2010 and 2014. An average of 3,809 genes were identified per genome, although only 2,006 genes were single copy orthologs or core genes conserved across all sequenced strains, with an average of 42 new genes found per strain. We evaluated genetic distance through a phylogenetic analysis and MLST as well as the presence of antibiotic resistance genes, virulence markers and mobile genetic elements (MGE). The phylogenetic analysis recovered distinct monophyletic groups corresponding to five known (ST1, ST15, ST25, ST79, and ST113) and one novel ST (ST881, related to ST1). A large number of ST specific genes were found, with the ST79 strains having the largest number of genes in common that were missing from the other STs. Multiple genes associated with resistance to β-lactams, aminoglycosides and other antibiotics were found. Some of those were clearly mapped to defined MGEs and an analysis of those revealed known elements as well as a novel Tn-Tn transposon with a clear ST specific distribution. An association of selected resistance/virulence markers with specific STs was indeed observed, as well as the recent spread of the OXA-253 carbapenemase encoding gene. Virulence genes associated with the synthesis of the capsular antigens were noticeably more variable in the ST113 and ST79 strains. Indeed, several resistance and virulence genes were common to the ST79 and ST113 strains only, despite a greater genetic distance between them, suggesting common means of genetic exchange. Our comparative analysis reveals the spread of multiple STs and the genomic plasticity of from different hospitals in a single metropolitan area. It also highlights differences in the spread of resistance markers and other MGEs between the investigated STs, impacting on the monitoring and treatment of in the ongoing and future outbreaks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2020.01176DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7326025PMC
June 2020

Polymorphisms in GSTE2 is associated with temephos resistance in Aedes aegypti.

Pestic Biochem Physiol 2020 May 24;165:104464. Epub 2019 Oct 24.

Department of Entomology, Instituto Aggeu Magalhães, FIOCRUZ, Recife, PE 50740-465, Brazil.

The glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) are enzymes involved in several distinct biological processes. In insects, the GSTs, especially delta and epsilon classes, play a key role in the metabolism of xenobiotics used to control insect populations. Here, we investigated its potential role in temephos resistance, examining the GSTE2 gene from susceptible (RecL) and resistant (RecR) strains of the mosquito Aedes aegypti, vector for several pathogenic arboviruses. Total GST enzymatic activity and the GSTE2 gene expression profile were evaluated, with the GSTE2 cDNA and genomic loci sequenced from both strains. Recombinant GSTE2 and mutants were produced in a heterologous expression system and assayed for enzyme kinetic parameters. These proteins also had their 3D structure predicted through molecular modeling. Our results showed that RecR has a profile of total GST enzymatic activity higher than RecL, with the expression of the GSTE2 gene in resistant larvae increasing six folds. Four exclusive RecR mutations were observed (L111S, I150V, E178A and A198E), which were absent in the laboratory susceptible strains. The enzymatic activity of the recombinant GSTE2 showed different kinetic parameters, with the GSTE2 RecR showing an enhanced ability to metabolize its substrate. The I150V mutation was shown to induce significant changes in catalytic parameters and a 3D modeling of GSTE2 mapped two of the RecR changes (L111S and I150V) near the enzyme's catalytic pocket, also implying an impact on its catalytic activity. Our results reinforce a potential role for GSTE2 in the metabolic resistance phenotype while contributing to the understanding of the molecular basis for the resistance mechanism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pestbp.2019.10.002DOI Listing
May 2020

Assessment of Leishmania cell lines expressing high levels of beta-galactosidase as alternative tools for the evaluation of anti-leishmanial drug activity.

J Microbiol Methods 2019 11 17;166:105732. Epub 2019 Oct 17.

Departamento de Imunologia, Instituto Aggeu Magalhães- FIOCRUZ, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

Leishmaniasis, caused by protozoa belonging to the genus Leishmania, is an important public health problem found in >90 countries and with still limited options for treatment. Development of new anti-leishmanial drugs is an urgent need and the identification of new active compounds is a limiting factor that can be accelerated through large scale drug screening. This requires multiple steps and can be expensive and time consuming. Here, we propose an alternative approach for the colorimetric assessment of anti-Leishmania drug activity that can be easily scaled up. L. amazonensis and L. infantum cell lines were generated having the β-galactosidase (β-gal) gene integrated into their chromosomal 18S rRNA (ssu) locus. Both cell lines expressed high levels of β-gal and had their growth easily monitored and quantified colorimetrically. These two cell lines were then evaluated as tools to assess drug susceptibility and their use was validated through in vitro assays with Amphotericin B, which is routinely used against leishmaniasis. β-gal expression was also confirmed through flow-cytometry, another method of phenotypic detection. With these recombinant parasites, an alternative in vitro model of drug screening against cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis is now available.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mimet.2019.105732DOI Listing
November 2019

Identification of divergent Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis ecotypes derived from a geographically restricted area through whole genome analysis.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2019 06 6;13(6):e0007382. Epub 2019 Jun 6.

Department of Immunology, Aggeu Magalhães Institute -FIOCRUZ, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

Leishmania braziliensis, the main etiological agent of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) in Latin America, is characterized by major differences in basic biology in comparison with better-known Leishmania species. It is also associated with a high phenotypic and possibly genetic diversity that need to be more adequately defined. Here we used whole genome sequences to evaluate the genetic diversity of ten L. braziliensis isolates from a CL endemic area from Northeastern Brazil, previously classified by Multi Locus Enzyme Electrophoresis (MLEE) into ten distinct zymodemes. These sequences were first mapped using the L. braziliensis M2904 reference genome followed by identification of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs). A substantial level of diversity was observed when compared with the reference genome, with SNP counts ranging from ~95,000 to ~131,000 for the different isolates. When the genome data was used to infer relationship between isolates, those belonging to zymodemes Z72/Z75, recovered from forested environments, were found to cluster separately from the others, generally associated with more urban environments. Among the remaining isolates, those from zymodemes Z74/Z106 were also found to form a separate group. Phylogenetic analyses were also performed using Multi-Locus Sequence Analysis from genes coding for four metabolic enzymes used for MLEE as well as the gene sequence coding for the Hsp70 heat shock protein. All 10 isolates were firmly identified as L. braziliensis, including the zymodeme Z26 isolate previously classified as Leishmania shawi, with the clustering into three groups confirmed. Aneuploidy was also investigated but found in general restricted to chromosome 31, with a single isolate, from zymodeme Z27, characterized by extra copies for other chromosomes. Noteworthy, both Z72 and Z75 isolates are characterized by a much reduced heterozygosity. Our data is consistent with the existence of distinct evolutionary groups in the restricted area sampled and a substantial genetic diversity within L. braziliensis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007382DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6581274PMC
June 2019

Performance evaluation of anti-fixed Leishmania infantum promastigotes immunoglobulin G (IgG) detected by flow cytometry as a diagnostic tool for visceral Leishmaniasis.

J Immunol Methods 2019 06 25;469:18-25. Epub 2019 Feb 25.

Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz-Pernambuco), Instituto Aggeu Magalhães, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) is a severe disease, caused by the protozoans Leishmania infantum and L. donovani that is widely diagnosed using serological tools. These, however, have limitations in performance that limit their use for the correct identification of the cases. This study aimed to evaluate the performance of flow cytometry with fixed parasites for VL diagnosis, comparing it with four other serological tests. Samples from two endemic VL regions in Brazil, diagnosed by direct examination (DG1) and by at least two or one standard serological test (DG2 and DG3, respectively), as well as patients with chronic Chagas' disease (CG1) and healthy controls (CG2) were used in this study. The flow cytometry results were expressed as levels of IgG reactivity, based on the percentage of positive fluorescent parasites (PPFP). Using a 1:4096 serum dilution, a ROC curve analysis of the serum titration on flow cytometry has indicated a PPFP of 2% as the cutoff point to segregate positive and negative results. In the present study, flow cytometry had the best performance for DG1 (sensitivity of 96%) while rK39 (imunocromagraphic rapid test) and DAT (Direct agglutination test) were also associated with high sensitivity and specificity. The substantial agreement and kappa indexes observed suggested similar performances between these two tests and flow cytometry. IFAT (Immunofluorescent antibody test) and ELISA (Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) had lower performances and the lower values of agreement with flow cytometry. Together, these findings suggest that although adjustments are needed in order to reduce cross reactivity with other trypanosomatids, flow cytometry has the potential to be a safe serological alternative for the diagnosis of VL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jim.2019.02.009DOI Listing
June 2019

In silico characterization of multiple genes encoding the GP63 virulence protein from Leishmania braziliensis: identification of sources of variation and putative roles in immune evasion.

BMC Genomics 2019 Feb 7;20(1):118. Epub 2019 Feb 7.

Instituto Aggeu Magalhães, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz-Pernambuco), Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

Background: The leishmaniasis are parasitic diseases caused by protozoans of the genus Leishmania, highly divergent eukaryotes, characterized by unique biological features. To survive in both the mammalian hosts and insect vectors, these pathogens make use of a number of mechanisms, many of which are associated with parasite specific proteases. The metalloprotease GP63, the major Leishmania surface antigen, has been found to have multiple functions required for the parasite's survival. GP63 is encoded by multiple genes and their copy numbers vary considerably between different species and are increased in those from the subgenus Viannia, including L. braziliensis.

Results: By comparing multiple sequences from Leishmania and related organisms this study sought to characterize paralogs in silico, evaluating their differences and similarities and the implications for the GP63 function. The Leishmania GP63 genes are encoded on chromosomes 10, 28 and 31, with the genes from the latter two chromosomes more related to genes found in insect or plant parasites. Those from chromosome 10 have experienced independent expansions in numbers in Leishmania, especially in L. braziliensis. These could be clustered in three groups associated with different mRNA 3' untranslated regions as well as distinct C-terminal ends for the encoded proteins, with presumably distinct expression patterns and subcellular localizations. Sequence variations between the chromosome 10 genes were linked to intragenic recombination events, mapped to the external surface of the proteins and predicted to be immunogenic, implying a role against the host immune response.

Conclusions: Our results suggest a greater role for the sequence variation found among the chromosome 10 GP63 genes, possibly related to the pathogenesis of L. braziliensis and closely related species within the mammalian host. They also indicate different functions associated to genes mapped to different chromosomes. For the chromosome 10 genes, variable subcellular localizations were found to be most likely associated with multiple functions and target substrates for this versatile protease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12864-019-5465-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6367770PMC
February 2019

A new reporter cell line for studies with proteasome inhibitors in Trypanosoma brucei.

Mol Biochem Parasitol 2019 01 13;227:15-18. Epub 2018 Nov 13.

Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge, CB2 1QW, United Kingdom.

A Trypanosoma brucei cell line is described that produces a visual readout of proteasome activity. The cell line contains an integrated transgene encoding an ubiquitin-green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion polypeptide responsive to the addition of proteasome inhibitors. A modified version of T. brucei ubiquitin unable to be recognized by deubiquitinases (UbG76V) was fused to eGFP and constitutively expressed. The fusion protein is unstable but addition of the proteasome inhibitor lactacystin stabilizes it and leads to visually detectable GFP. This cell line can be widely used to monitor the efficiency of inhibitor treatment through detection of GFP accumulation in studies involving proteasome-mediated proteolysis, screening of proteasome inhibitors or other events related to the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molbiopara.2018.11.001DOI Listing
January 2019

Phosphorylation and interactions associated with the control of the Leishmania Poly-A Binding Protein 1 (PABP1) function during translation initiation.

RNA Biol 2018 23;15(6):739-755. Epub 2018 Mar 23.

c CHU de Quebec Research Center and Department of Microbiology-Infectious Disease and Immunology , Laval University , Quebec , QC , Canada.

The Poly-A Binding Protein (PABP) is a conserved eukaryotic polypeptide involved in many aspects of mRNA metabolism. During translation initiation, PABP interacts with the translation initiation complex eIF4F and enhances the translation of polyadenylated mRNAs. Schematically, most PABPs can be divided into an N-terminal RNA-binding region, a non-conserved linker segment and the C-terminal MLLE domain. In pathogenic Leishmania protozoans, three PABP homologues have been identified, with the first one (PABP1) targeted by phosphorylation and shown to co-immunoprecipitate with an eIF4F-like complex (EIF4E4/EIF4G3) implicated in translation initiation. Here, PABP1 phosphorylation was shown to be linked to logarithmic cell growth, reminiscent of EIF4E4 phosphorylation, and coincides with polysomal association. Phosphorylation targets multiple serine-proline (SP) or threonine-proline (TP) residues within the PABP1 linker region. This is an essential protein, but phosphorylation is not needed for its association with polysomes or cell viability. Mutations which do impair PABP1 polysomal association and are required for viability do not prevent phosphorylation, although further mutations lead to a presumed inactive protein largely lacking phosphorylated isoforms. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments were carried out to investigate PABP1 function further, identifying several novel protein partners and the EIF4E4/EIF4G3 complex, but no other eIF4F-like complex or subunit. A novel, direct interaction between PABP1 and EIF4E4 was also investigated and found to be mediated by the PABP1 MLLE binding to PABP Interacting Motifs (PAM2) within the EIF4E4 N-terminus. The results shown here are consistent with phosphorylation of PABP1 being part of a novel pathway controlling its function and possibly translation in Leishmania.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15476286.2018.1445958DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6152449PMC
November 2018

Trypanosoma brucei EIF4E2 cap-binding protein binds a homolog of the histone-mRNA stem-loop-binding protein.

Curr Genet 2018 Aug 29;64(4):821-839. Epub 2017 Dec 29.

Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 90095, USA.

Trypanosomatids are parasitic protozoans characterized by several unique structural and metabolic processes that include exquisite mechanisms associated with gene expression and regulation. During the initiation of protein synthesis, for instance, mRNA selection for translation seems to be mediated by different eIF4F-like complexes, which may play a significant role in parasite adaptation to different hosts. In eukaryotes, the heterotrimeric eIF4F complex (formed by eIF4E, eIF4G, and eIF4A) mediates mRNA recognition and ribosome binding and participates in various translation regulatory events. Six eIF4Es and five eIF4Gs have been described in trypanosomatids with several of these forming different eIF4F-like complexes. This has raised questions about their role in differential mRNA translation. Here we have studied further TbEIF4E2, the least known eIF4E homologue from Trypanosoma brucei, and found that it is not associated with an eIF4G homolog. It is, however, associated with mature mRNAs and binds to a histone mRNA stem-loop-binding protein (SLBP), one of two Trypanosoma SLBP homologs (TbSLBP1 and TbSLBP2). TbSLBP1 is more similar to the mammalian counterpart while TbSLBP2 is exclusive to trypanosomatids and related organisms. TbSLBP2 binds to TbEIF4E2 through a conserved central region missing in other SLBP homologs. Both SLBPs, as well as TbEIF4E2, were found to localize to the cytoplasm. TbEIF4E2 and TbSLBP2 are differentially expressed during cell culture, being more abundant in early-log phase, with TbSLBP2 also showing cell-cycle dependent expression. The new data reinforce unique aspects of the trypanosomatid eIF4Es, with the TbEIF4E2-TbSLBP complex possibly having a role in differential selection of mRNAs containing stem-loop structures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00294-017-0795-3DOI Listing
August 2018

The Role of Cytoplasmic mRNA Cap-Binding Protein Complexes in Trypanosoma brucei and Other Trypanosomatids.

Pathogens 2017 Oct 27;6(4). Epub 2017 Oct 27.

Department of Microbiology, Instituto Aggeu Magalhães, Fiocruz, Recife 50740-465, PE, Brazil.

Trypanosomatid protozoa are unusual eukaryotes that are well known for having unusual ways of controlling their gene expression. The lack of a refined mode of transcriptional control in these organisms is compensated by several post-transcriptional control mechanisms, such as control of mRNA turnover and selection of mRNA for translation, that may modulate protein synthesis in response to several environmental conditions found in different hosts. In other eukaryotes, selection of mRNA for translation is mediated by the complex eIF4F, a heterotrimeric protein complex composed by the subunits eIF4E, eIF4G, and eIF4A, where the eIF4E binds to the 5'-cap structure of mature mRNAs. In this review, we present and discuss the characteristics of six trypanosomatid eIF4E homologs and their associated proteins that form multiple eIF4F complexes. The existence of multiple eIF4F complexes in trypanosomatids evokes exquisite mechanisms for differential mRNA recognition for translation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens6040055DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5750579PMC
October 2017

Evaluation of a new set of recombinant antigens for the serological diagnosis of human and canine visceral leishmaniasis.

PLoS One 2017 28;12(9):e0184867. Epub 2017 Sep 28.

Centro de Pesquisas Aggeu Magalhães, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz-Pernambuco), Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

Current strategies for the control of zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis (VL) rely on its efficient diagnosis in both human and canine hosts. The most promising and cost effective approach is based on serologic assays with recombinant proteins. However, no single antigen has been found so far which can be effectively used to detect the disease in both dogs and humans. In previous works, we identified Leishmania infantum antigens with potential for the serodiagnosis of VL. Here, we aimed to expand the panel of the available antigens for VL diagnosis through another screening of a genomic expression library. Seven different protein-coding gene fragments were identified, five of which encoding proteins which have not been previously studied in Leishmania and rich in repetitive motifs. Poly-histidine tagged polypeptides were generated from six genes and evaluated for their potential for diagnosis of VL by ELISA (Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay) with sera from infected humans and dogs. None of those was valid for the detection of human VL (26-52% sensitivity) although their performance was increased in the canine sera (48-91% sensitivity), with one polypeptide useful for the diagnosis of canine leishmaniasis. Next, we assayed a mixture of three antigens, found to be best for human or canine VL, among 13 identified through different screenings. This "Mix" resulted in similar levels of sensitivity for both human (84%) and canine (88%) sera. With improvements, this validates the use of multiple proteins, including antigens identified here, as components of a single system for the diagnosis of both forms of leishmaniasis.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0184867PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5619722PMC
October 2017

RNA secondary structure and nucleotide composition of the conserved hallmark sequence of Leishmania SIDER2 retroposons are essential for endonucleolytic cleavage and mRNA degradation.

PLoS One 2017 13;12(7):e0180678. Epub 2017 Jul 13.

Research Center in Infectious Diseases, CHU de Quebec Research Center-University Laval, Quebec, QC. Canada.

We have reported previously that Short Interspersed Degenerate Retroposons of the SIDER2 subfamily, largely located within 3'UTRs of Leishmania transcripts, promote rapid turnover of mRNAs through endonucleolytic cleavage within the highly conserved second tandem 79-nt hallmark sequence (79-nt SII). Here, we used site-directed mutagenesis and in silico RNA structural studies to delineate the cis-acting requirements within 79-nt SII for cleavage and mRNA degradation. The putative cleavage site(s) and other nucleotides predicted to alter the RNA secondary structure of 79-nt SII were either deleted or mutated and their effect on mRNA turnover was monitored using a gene reporter system. We found that short deletions of 8-nt spanning the two predicted cleavage sites block degradation of SIDER2-containing transcripts, leading to mRNA accumulation. Furthermore, single or double substitutions of the dinucleotides targeted for cleavage as well as mutations altering the predicted RNA secondary structure encompassing both cleavage sites also prevent mRNA degradation, confirming that these dinucleotides are the bona fide cleavage sites. In line with these results, we show that stage-regulated SIDER2 inactivation correlates with the absence of endonucleolytic cleavage. Overall, these data demonstrate that both cleavage sites within the conserved 79-nt SII as well as RNA folding in this region are essential for SIDER2-mediated mRNA decay, and further support that SIDER2-harboring transcripts are targeted for degradation by endonucleolytic cleavage.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0180678PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5509151PMC
September 2017

The unique Leishmania EIF4E4 N-terminus is a target for multiple phosphorylation events and participates in critical interactions required for translation initiation.

RNA Biol 2015 4;12(11):1209-21. Epub 2015 Sep 4.

b CHU de Quebec Research Center and Department of Microbiology ; Infectious Disease and Immunology; Laval University ; Quebec, QC , Canada.

The eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) recognizes the mRNA cap structure and, together with eIF4G and eIF4A, form the eIF4F complex that regulates translation initiation in eukaryotes. In trypanosomatids, 2 eIF4E homologues (EIF4E3 and EIF4E4) have been shown to be part of eIF4F-like complexes with presumed roles in translation initiation. Both proteins possess unique N-terminal extensions, which can be targeted for phosphorylation. Here, we provide novel insights on the Leishmania infantum EIF4E4 function and regulation. We show that EIF4E4 is constitutively expressed throughout the parasite development but is preferentially phosphorylated in exponentially grown promastigote and amastigote life stages, hence correlating with high levels of translation. Phosphorylation targets multiple serine-proline or threonine-proline residues within the N-terminal extension of EIF4E4 but does not require binding to the EIF4E4's partner, EIF4G3, or to the cap structure. We also report that EIF4E4 interacts with PABP1 through 3 conserved boxes at the EIF4E4 N-terminus and that this interaction is a prerequisite for efficient EIF4E4 phosphorylation. EIF4E4 is essential for Leishmania growth and an EIF4E4 null mutant was only obtained in the presence of an ectopically provided wild type gene. Complementation for the loss of EIF4E4 with several EIF4E4 mutant proteins affecting either phosphorylation or binding to mRNA or to EIF4E4 protein partners revealed that, in contrast to other eukaryotes, only the EIF4E4-PABP1 interaction but neither the binding to EIF4G3 nor phosphorylation is essential for translation. These studies also demonstrated that the lack of both EIF4E4 phosphorylation and EIF4G3 binding leads to a non-functional protein. Altogether, these findings further highlight the unique features of the translation initiation process in trypanosomatid protozoa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15476286.2015.1086865DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4829273PMC
September 2016

Co-selection and replacement of resistance alleles to Lysinibacillus sphaericus in a Culex quinquefasciatus colony.

FEBS J 2015 Sep 20;282(18):3592-602. Epub 2015 Jul 20.

Department of Entomology, Centro de Pesquisas Aggeu Magalhães, FIOCRUZ, Recife, Brazil.

The Cqm1 α-glucosidase, expressed within the midgut of Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito larvae, is the receptor for the Binary toxin (Bin) from the entomopathogen Lysinibacillus sphaericus. Mutations of the Cqm1 α-glucosidase gene cause high resistance levels to this bacterium in both field and laboratory populations, and a previously described allele, cqm1REC, was found to be associated with a laboratory-resistant colony (R2362). This study described the identification of a novel resistance allele, cqm1REC-2, that was co-selected with cqm1REC within the R2362 colony. The two alleles display distinct mutations but both generate premature stop codons that prevent the expression of midgut-bound Cqm1 proteins. Using a PCR-based assay to monitor the frequency of each allele during long-term maintenance of the resistant colony, cqm1REC was found to predominate early on but later was replaced by cqm1REC-2 as the most abundant resistance allele. Homozygous larvae for each allele were then generated that displayed similar high-resistance phenotypes with equivalent low levels of transcript and lack of protein expression for both cqm1REC and cqm1REC-2. In progeny from a cross of homozygous individuals for each allele at a 1 : 1 ratio, analyzed for ten subsequent generations, cqm1REC showed a higher frequency than cqm1REC-2. The replacement of cqm1REC by cqm1REC -2 observed in the R2362 colony, kept for 210 generations, indicates changes in fitness related to traits that are unknown but linked to these two alleles, and constitutes a unique example of evolution of resistance within a controlled laboratory environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/febs.13364DOI Listing
September 2015

Two related trypanosomatid eIF4G homologues have functional differences compatible with distinct roles during translation initiation.

RNA Biol 2015 ;12(3):305-19

a Centro de Pesquisas Aggeu Magalhães; Fundação Oswaldo Cruz ; Campus UFPE; Recife , PE , Brazil.

In higher eukaryotes, eIF4A, eIF4E and eIF4G homologues interact to enable mRNA recruitment to the ribosome. eIF4G acts as a scaffold for these interactions and also interacts with other proteins of the translational machinery. Trypanosomatid protozoa have multiple homologues of eIF4E and eIF4G and the precise function of each remains unclear. Here, 2 previously described eIF4G homologues, EIF4G3 and EIF4G4, were further investigated. In vitro, both homologues bound EIF4AI, but with different interaction properties. Binding to distinct eIF4Es was also confirmed; EIF4G3 bound EIF4E4 while EIF4G4 bound EIF4E3, both these interactions required similar binding motifs. EIF4G3, but not EIF4G4, interacted with PABP1, a poly-A binding protein homolog. Work in vivo with Trypanosoma brucei showed that both EIF4G3 and EIF4G4 are cytoplasmic and essential for viability. Depletion of EIF4G3 caused a rapid reduction in total translation while EIF4G4 depletion led to changes in morphology but no substantial inhibition of translation. Site-directed mutagenesis was used to disrupt interactions of the eIF4Gs with either eIF4E or eIF4A, causing different levels of growth inhibition. Overall the results show that only EIF4G3, with its cap binding partner EIF4E4, plays a major role in translational initiation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15476286.2015.1017233DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4615764PMC
December 2015

The translation initiation complex eIF3 in trypanosomatids and other pathogenic excavates--identification of conserved and divergent features based on orthologue analysis.

BMC Genomics 2014 Dec 23;15:1175. Epub 2014 Dec 23.

Centro de Pesquisas Aggeu Magalhães, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Avenida Professor Moraes Rego s/n, Cidade Universitária, Recife, PE 50670-420, Brazil.

Background: The initiation of translation in eukaryotes is supported by the action of several eukaryotic Initiation Factors (eIFs). The largest of these is eIF3, comprising of up to thirteen polypeptides (eIF3a through eIF3m), involved in multiple stages of the initiation process. eIF3 has been better characterized from model organisms, but is poorly known from more diverged groups, including unicellular lineages represented by known human pathogens. These include the trypanosomatids (Trypanosoma and Leishmania) and other protists belonging to the taxonomic supergroup Excavata (Trichomonas and Giardia sp.).

Results: An in depth bioinformatic search was carried out to recover the full content of eIF3 subunits from the available genomes of L. major, T. brucei, T. vaginalis and G. duodenalis. The protein sequences recovered were then submitted to homology analysis and alignments comparing them with orthologues from representative eukaryotes. Eleven putative eIF3 subunits were found from both trypanosomatids whilst only five and four subunits were identified from T. vaginalis and G. duodenalis, respectively. Only three subunits were found in all eukaryotes investigated, eIF3b, eIF3c and eIF3i. The single subunit found to have a related Archaean homologue was eIF3i, the most conserved of the eIF3 subunits. The sequence alignments revealed several strongly conserved residues/region within various eIF3 subunits of possible functional relevance. Subsequent biochemical characterization of the Leishmania eIF3 complex validated the bioinformatic search and yielded a twelfth eIF3 subunit in trypanosomatids, eIF3f (the single unidentified subunit in trypanosomatids was then eIF3m). The biochemical data indicates a lack of association of the eIF3j subunit to the complex whilst highlighting the strong interaction between eIF3 and eIF1.

Conclusions: The presence of most eIF3 subunits in trypanosomatids is consistent with an early evolution of a fully functional complex. Simplified versions in other excavates might indicate a primordial complex or secondary loss of selected subunits, as seen for some fungal lineages. The conservation in eIF3i sequence might indicate critical functions within eIF3 which have been overlooked. The identification of eIF3 subunits from distantly related eukaryotes provides then a basis for the study of conserved/divergent aspects of eIF3 function, leading to a better understanding of eukaryotic translation initiation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-15-1175DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4320536PMC
December 2014

eIF4F-like complexes formed by cap-binding homolog TbEIF4E5 with TbEIF4G1 or TbEIF4G2 are implicated in post-transcriptional regulation in Trypanosoma brucei.

RNA 2014 Aug 24;20(8):1272-86. Epub 2014 Jun 24.

Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.

Members of the eIF4E mRNA cap-binding family are involved in translation and the modulation of transcript availability in other systems as part of a three-component complex including eIF4G and eIF4A. The kinetoplastids possess four described eIF4E and five eIF4G homologs. We have identified two new eIF4E family proteins in Trypanosoma brucei, and define distinct complexes associated with the fifth member, TbEIF4E5. The cytosolic TbEIF4E5 protein binds cap 0 in vitro. TbEIF4E5 was found in association with two of the five TbEIF4Gs. TbIF4EG1 bound TbEIF4E5, a 47.5-kDa protein with two RNA-binding domains, and either the regulatory protein 14-3-3 II or a 117.5-kDa protein with guanylyltransferase and methyltransferase domains in a potentially dynamic interaction. The TbEIF4G2/TbEIF4E5 complex was associated with a 17.9-kDa hypothetical protein and both 14-3-3 variants I and II. Knockdown of TbEIF4E5 resulted in the loss of productive cell movement, as evidenced by the inability of the cells to remain in suspension in liquid culture and the loss of social motility on semisolid plating medium, as well as a minor reduction of translation. Cells appeared lethargic, as opposed to compromised in flagellar function per se. The minimal use of transcriptional control in kinetoplastids requires these organisms to implement downstream mechanisms to regulate gene expression, and the TbEIF4E5/TbEIF4G1/117.5-kDa complex in particular may be a key player in that process. We suggest that a pathway involved in cell motility is affected, directly or indirectly, by one of the TbEIF4E5 complexes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1261/rna.045534.114DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4105752PMC
August 2014

Trypanosoma brucei translation initiation factor homolog EIF4E6 forms a tripartite cytosolic complex with EIF4G5 and a capping enzyme homolog.

Eukaryot Cell 2014 Jul 16;13(7):896-908. Epub 2014 May 16.

Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA

Trypanosomes lack the transcriptional control characteristic of the majority of eukaryotes that is mediated by gene-specific promoters in a one-gene-one-promoter arrangement. Rather, their genomes are transcribed in large polycistrons with no obvious functional linkage. Posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression must thus play a larger role in these organisms. The eIF4E homolog TbEIF4E6 binds mRNA cap analogs in vitro and is part of a complex in vivo that may fulfill such a role. Knockdown of TbEIF4E6 tagged with protein A-tobacco etch virus protease cleavage site-protein C to approximately 15% of the normal expression level resulted in viable cells that displayed a set of phenotypes linked to detachment of the flagellum from the length of the cell body, if not outright flagellum loss. While these cells appeared and behaved as normal under stationary liquid culture conditions, standard centrifugation resulted in a marked increase in flagellar detachment. Furthermore, the ability of TbEIF4E6-depleted cells to engage in social motility was reduced. The TbEIF4E6 protein forms a cytosolic complex containing a triad of proteins, including the eIF4G homolog TbEIF4G5 and a hypothetical protein of 70.3 kDa, referred to as TbG5-IP. The TbG5-IP analysis revealed two domains with predicted secondary structures conserved in mRNA capping enzymes: nucleoside triphosphate hydrolase and guanylyltransferase. These complex members have the potential for RNA interaction, either via the 5' cap structure for TbEIF4E6 and TbG5-IP or through RNA-binding domains in TbEIF4G5. The associated proteins provide a signpost for future studies to determine how this complex affects capped RNA molecules.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/EC.00071-14DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4135740PMC
July 2014

The eIF4E subunits of two distinct trypanosomatid eIF4F complexes are subjected to differential post-translational modifications associated to distinct growth phases in culture.

Mol Biochem Parasitol 2013 Aug 15;190(2):82-6. Epub 2013 Jul 15.

Centro de Pesquisas Aggeu Magalhães/Fiocruz, Campus UFPE, Recife, PE 50670-420, Brazil.

The eukaryotic eIF4F complex, the cap binding complex, functions during translation initiation through interactions mediated by its three subunits (eIF4E, eIF4G and eIF4A), other initiation factors and the ribosome. In trypanosomatids, various eIF4E and eIF4G homologues were identified, with two eIF4F-like complexes confirmed (EIF4E4/EIF4G3/EIF4AI and EIF4E3/EIF4G4/EIF4AI). Here, the expression pattern of these complexes was investigated during Leishmania amazonensis and Trypanosoma brucei growth. The two sets of eIF4E and eIF4G homologues were found represented by phosphorylated isoforms with multiple phosphorylation events targeting the two eIF4E homologues. Expression of these multiple isoforms was differentially affected by inhibitors of mRNA synthesis/processing and translation. Phosphorylated EIF4E4 was consistently associated with early/active growth phases in both organisms studied. In T. brucei phosphorylation of both EIF4E3 and 4, overexpressed as HA-tagged fusions, was partially mapped to their N-terminuses. Our results indicate that phosphorylation is associated with a further layer of complexity in translation initiation in trypanosomatids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molbiopara.2013.06.008DOI Listing
August 2013

Characterization of novel Leishmania infantum recombinant proteins encoded by genes from five families with distinct capacities for serodiagnosis of canine and human visceral leishmaniasis.

Am J Trop Med Hyg 2011 Dec;85(6):1025-34

Centro de Pesquisas Gonçalo Moniz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.

To expand the available panel of recombinant proteins that can be useful for identifying Leishmania-infected dogs and for diagnosing human visceral leishmaniasis (VL), we selected recombinant antigens from L. infantum, cDNA, and genomic libraries by using pools of serum samples from infected dogs and humans. The selected DNA fragments encoded homologs of a cytoplasmic heat-shock protein 70, a kinesin, a polyubiquitin, and two novel hypothetical proteins. Histidine-tagged recombinant proteins were produced after subcloning these DNA fragments and evaluated by using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays with panels of canine and human serum samples. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays with different recombinant proteins had different sensitivities (67.4-93.0% and 36.4-97.2%) and specificities (76.1-100% and 90.4-97.3%) when tested with serum samples from Leishmania-infected dogs and human patients with VL. Overall, no single recombinant antigen was sufficient to serodiagnosis all canine or human VL cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.2011.11-0102DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3225146PMC
December 2011

The four trypanosomatid eIF4E homologues fall into two separate groups, with distinct features in primary sequence and biological properties.

Mol Biochem Parasitol 2011 Mar 24;176(1):25-36. Epub 2010 Nov 24.

Centro de Pesquisas Aggeu Magalhães, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Av. Moraes Rego s/n, Campus UFPE, Recife, PE 50670-420, Brazil.

Translation initiation in eukaryotes requires eIF4E, the cap binding protein, which mediates its function through an interaction with the scaffolding protein eIF4G, as part of the eIF4F complex. In trypanosomatids, four eIF4E homologues have been described but the specific function of each is not well characterized. Here, we report a study of these proteins in Trypanosoma brucei (TbEIF4E1 through 4). At the sequence level, they can be assigned to two groups: TbEIF4E1 and 2, similar in size to metazoan eIF4E1; and TbEIF4E3 and 4, with long N-terminal extensions. All are constitutively expressed, but whilst TbEIF4E1 and 2 localize to both the nucleus and cytoplasm, TbEIF4E3 and 4 are strictly cytoplasmic and are also more abundant. After knockdown through RNAi, TbEIF4E3 was the only homologue confirmed to be essential for viability of the insect procyclic form. In contrast, TbEIF4E1, 3 and 4 were all essential for the mammalian bloodstream form. Simultaneous RNAi knockdown of TbEIF4E1 and 2 caused cessation of growth and death in procyclics, but with a delayed impact on translation, whilst knockdown of TbEIF4E3 alone or a combined TbEIF4E1 and 4 knockdown led to substantial translation inhibition which preceded cellular death by several days, at least. Only TbEIF4E3 and 4 were found to interact with T. brucei eIF4G homologues; TbEIF4E3 bound both TbEIF4G3 and 4 whilst TbEIF4E4 bound only to TbEIF4G3. These results are consistent with TbEIF4E3 and 4 having distinct but relevant roles in initiation of protein synthesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molbiopara.2010.11.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6736675PMC
March 2011

Functional characterization of three leishmania poly(a) binding protein homologues with distinct binding properties to RNA and protein partners.

Eukaryot Cell 2010 Oct 30;9(10):1484-94. Epub 2010 Jul 30.

Departamento de Microbiologia, Centro de Pesquisas Aggeu Magalhães/Fiocruz, Recife, PE, Brazil.

Trypanosomatid protozoans are reliant on posttranscriptional processes to control gene expression. Regulation occurs at the levels of mRNA processing, stability, and translation, events that may require the participation of the poly(A) binding protein (PABP). Here, we have undertaken a functional study of the three distinct Leishmania major PABP (LmPABP) homologues: the previously described LmPABP1; LmPABP2, orthologous to the PABP described from Trypanosoma species; and LmPABP3, unique to Leishmania. Sequence identity between the three PABPs is no greater than 40%. In assays measuring binding to A-rich sequences, LmPABP1 binding was poly(A) sensitive but heparin insensitive; LmPABP2 binding was heparin sensitive and less sensitive to poly(A), compatible with unique substitutions observed in residues implicated in poly(A) binding; and LmPABP3 displayed intermediate properties. All three homologues are simultaneously expressed as abundant cytoplasmic proteins in L. major promastigotes, but only LmPABP1 is present as multiple isoforms. Upon transcription inhibition, LmPABP2 and -3 migrated to the nucleus, while LmPABP1 remained predominantly cytoplasmic. Immunoprecipitation assays showed an association between LmPABP2 and -3. Although the three proteins bound to a Leishmania homologue of the translation initiation factor eukaryotic initiation factor 4G (eIF4G) (LmEIF4G3) in vitro, LmPABP1 was the only one to copurify with native LmEIF4G3 from cytoplasmic extracts. Functionality was tested using RNA interference (RNAi) in Trypanosoma brucei, where both orthologues to LmPABP1 and -2 are required for cellular viability. Our results indicate that these homologues have evolved divergent functions, some of which may be unique to the trypanosomatids, and reinforces a role for LmPABP1 in translation through its interaction with the eIF4G homologue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/EC.00148-10DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2950419PMC
October 2010

Distinct mitochondrial HSP70 homologues conserved in various Leishmania species suggest novel biological functions.

Mol Biochem Parasitol 2008 Aug 4;160(2):157-62. Epub 2008 May 4.

Centro de Pesquisas Aggeu Magalhães, Fiocruz, Avenida Moraes Rego s/n., Campus UFPE, Recife, PE 50670-420, Brazil.

We report the identification of two distinct homologues of the 70-kDa mitochondrial heat shock protein (mtHSP70) from Leishmania chagasi/Leishmania infantum (Lc2.1 and Lc2.2). In Leishmania species, multiple genes encoding Lc2.2 are present whilst single genes encode Lc2.1. Strikingly, genes encoding Lc2.1-like proteins are absent from Trypanosoma species. Lc2.2 is characterized by a poly-glutamine rich C-terminus, absent from Lc2.1 or mtHSP70 homologues outside the trypanosomatids. Lc2.1 displays unique substitutions within its peptide-binding domain which modify amino acids strictly conserved in cytoplasmic and mitochondrial HSP70 proteins alike. Affinity purified antibodies recognize mainly a single protein in extracts from promastigotes/epimastigotes of various Leishmania/Trypanosoma species. Upon differentiation of Leishmania amazonensis into amastigotes a second protein (presumably Lc2.1) is induced and becomes the predominant mtHSP70 homologue expressed. Subcellular localization of these proteins was investigated and ratified a distribution throughout the mitochondrial matrix. Our results imply novel mtHSP70 functions which evolved within the genus Leishmania.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molbiopara.2008.04.013DOI Listing
August 2008

The two eIF4A helicases in Trypanosoma brucei are functionally distinct.

Nucleic Acids Res 2006 10;34(9):2495-507. Epub 2006 May 10.

Centro de Pesquisas Aggeu Magalhães, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Avenue Moraes Rego s/n, Campus UFPE, Recife PE 50670-420, Brazil.

Protozoan parasites belonging to the family Trypanosomatidae are characterized by an unusual pathway for the production of mRNAs via polycistronic transcription and trans-splicing of a 5' capped mini-exon which is linked to the 3' cleavage and polyadenylation of the upstream transcript. However, little is known of the mechanism of protein synthesis in these organisms, despite their importance as agents of a number of human diseases. Here we have investigated the role of two Trypanosoma brucei homologues of the translation initiation factor eIF4A (in the light of subsequent experiments these were named as TbEIF4AI and TbEIF4AIII). eIF4A, a DEAD-box RNA helicase, is a subunit of the translation initiation complex eIF4F which binds to the cap structure of eukaryotic mRNA and recruits the small ribosomal subunit. TbEIF4AI is a very abundant predominantly cytoplasmic protein (over 1 x 10(5) molecules/cell) and depletion to approximately 10% of normal levels through RNA interference dramatically reduces protein synthesis one cell cycle following double-stranded RNA induction and stops cell proliferation. In contrast, TbEIF4AIII is a nuclear, moderately expressed protein (approximately 1-2 x 10(4) molecules/cell), and its depletion stops cellular proliferation after approximately four cell cycles. Ectopic expression of a dominant negative mutant of TbEIF4AI, but not of TbEIF4AIII, induced a slow growth phenotype in transfected cells. Overall, our results suggest that only TbEIF4AI is involved in protein synthesis while the properties and sequence of TbEIF4AIII indicate that it may be the orthologue of eIF4AIII, a component of the exon junction complex in mammalian cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkl290DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1459412PMC
June 2006

Translation initiation in Leishmania major: characterisation of multiple eIF4F subunit homologues.

Mol Biochem Parasitol 2005 Mar;140(1):23-41

Departamento de Biologia Celular, Universidade de Brasilia, Brasilia 70910-900, D.F., Brazil.

In eukaryotes protein synthesis initiates with the binding of the multimeric translation initiation complex eIF4F - eIF4E, eIF4A and eIF4G - to the monomethylated cap present on the 5' end of mRNAs. eIF4E interacts directly with the cap nucleotide, while eIF4A is a highly conserved RNA helicase and eIF4G acts as a scaffold for the complex with binding sites for both eIF4E and eIF4A. eIF4F binding to the mRNA recruits the small ribosomal subunit to its 5' end. Little is known in detail of protein synthesis in the protozoan parasites belonging to the family Trypanosomatidae. However, the presence of the highly modified cap structure, cap4, and the spliced leader sequence on the 5' ends of all mRNAs suggests possible differences in mRNA recruitment by ribosomes. We identified several potential eIF4F homologues by searching Leishmania major databases: four eIF4Es (LmEIF4E1-4), two eIF4As (LmEIF4A1-2) and five eIF4Gs (LmEIF4G1-5). We report the initial characterisation of LmEIF4E1-3, LmEIF4A1-2 and LmEIF4G3. First, the expression of these proteins in L. major promastigotes was quantitated by Western blotting using isoform specific antibodies. LmEIF4A1 and LmEIF4E3 are very abundant, LmEIF4G3 is moderately abundant and LmEIF4E1/LmEIF4E2/LmEIF4A2 are rare or not detected. In cap-binding assays, only LmEIF4E1 bound to the 7-methyl-GTP-Sepharose resin. Molecular modelling confirmed that LmEIF4E1 has all the structural features of a cap-binding protein. Finally, pull-down assays were used to investigate the potential interaction between the eIF4A (LmEIF4A1/LmEIF4A2) and eIF4G (LmEIF4G1-3) homologues. Only LmEIF4G3, via the HEAT domain, bound specifically both to LmEIF4A1 as well as to human eIF4A. Therefore for each factor, one of the L. major forms seems to fulfil, in part at least, the expected characteristics of a translational initiation factor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molbiopara.2004.12.001DOI Listing
March 2005

Identification of a C-terminal poly(A)-binding protein (PABP)-PABP interaction domain: role in cooperative binding to poly (A) and efficient cap distal translational repression.

J Biol Chem 2003 Nov 2;278(47):46357-68. Epub 2003 Sep 2.

Departamento de Biologia Celular, Universidade de Brasilia, Brasilia DF 70910-900, Brazil.

The poly(A)-binding protein (PABP), bound to the 3' poly(A) tail of eukaryotic mRNAs, plays critical roles in mRNA translation and stability. PABP autoregulates its synthesis by binding to a conserved A-rich sequence present in the 5'-untranslated region of PABP mRNA and repressing its translation. PABP is composed of two parts: the highly conserved N terminus, containing 4 RNA recognition motifs (RRMs) responsible for poly(A) and eIF4G binding; and the more variable C terminus, which includes the recently described PABC domain, and promotes intermolecular interaction between PABP molecules as well as cooperative binding to poly(A). Here we show that, in vitro, GST-PABP represses the translation of reporter mRNAs containing 20 or more A residues in their 5'-untranslated regions and remains effective as a repressor when an A61 tract is placed at different distances from the cap, up to 126 nucleotides. Deletion of the PABP C terminus, but not the PABC domain alone, significantly reduces its ability to inhibit translation when bound to sequences distal to the cap, but not to proximal ones. Moreover, cooperative binding by multiple PABP molecules to poly(A) requires the C terminus, but not the PABC domain. Further analysis using pull-down assays shows that the interaction between PABP molecules, mediated by the C terminus, does not require the PABC domain and is enhanced by the presence of RRM 4. In vivo, fusion proteins containing parts of the PABP C terminus fused to the viral coat protein MS2 have an enhanced ability to prevent the expression of chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter mRNAs containing the MS2 binding site at distal distances from the cap. Altogether, our results identify a proline- and glutamine-rich linker located between the RRMs and the PABC domain as being strictly required for PABP/PABP interaction, cooperative binding to poly(A) and enhanced translational repression of reporter mRNAs in vitro and in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M307624200DOI Listing
November 2003

Adenosine-rich elements present in the 5'-untranslated region of PABP mRNA can selectively reduce the abundance and translation of CAT mRNAs in vivo.

FEBS Lett 2003 Jul;546(2-3):329-34

Departamento de Biologia Celular, Universidade de Brasília, Asa Norte, Brasília, DF 70910-900, Brazil.

The poly(A)-binding protein (PABP) is a highly conserved eukaryotic protein whose synthesis is regulated at the post-transcriptional level. The binding of PABP to the poly(A)-rich element found in the 5'-untranslated region (5'UTR) of PABP mRNA specifically inhibits its own translation. In this report, we show that similar adenosine-rich elements in the 5'UTR of the chloramphenicol acetyl-transferase (CAT) gene can significantly reduce the reporter mRNA abundance and translation in human 293 cells. The reduction in mRNA level, but not CAT expression, is dependent on the size of the 5'UTR poly(A) element. Furthermore, one 5'UTR-tethered PABP molecule is enough to inhibit CAT expression without affecting its mRNA level. We propose that the control of PABP synthesis may involve mRNA decay and the repression of translation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0014-5793(03)00620-3DOI Listing
July 2003
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