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Trichomonas vaginalis surface proteinase activity is necessary for parasite adherence to epithelial cells.

By R Arroyo and J F Alderete


The role of cysteine proteinases in adherence of Trichomonas vaginalis NYH 286 to HeLa and human vaginal epithelial cells was evaluated. Only pretreatment of trichomonads, but not epithelial cells, with N-alpha-p-tosyl-L-lysine chloromethyl ketone (TLCK), an inhibitor of trichomonad cysteine proteinases, greatly diminished the ability of T. vaginalis to recognize and bind to epithelial cells. Leupeptin and L-1-tosylamide-2-phenylethyl chloromethyl ketone, other cysteine proteinase inhibitors, also decreased T. vaginalis cytadherence. Parasites incubated with TLCK and washed extensively still did not adhere to cells at levels equal to those seen for control trichomonads treated with phosphate-buffered saline or culture medium alone. Exposure of TLCK-treated organisms with other cysteine proteinases restored cytadherence levels, indicating that proteinase action on the parasite surface is prerequisite for host cell attachment. Concentrations of TLCK which inhibited cytadherence did not alter the metabolism of T. vaginalis, as determined by metabolic labeling of trichomonad proteins; the protein patterns of T. vaginalis in the presence and absence of TLCK were identical. Kinetics of TLCK-mediated inhibition of cytadherence of other T. vaginalis isolates with different levels of epithelial-cell parasitism were similar to the concentration-dependent inhibition seen for isolate NYH 286. Incubation of TLCK-treated, washed organisms in growth medium resulted in regeneration of adherence. Finally, treatment of T. vaginalis organisms with proteinase inhibitors for abrogation of cytadherence effectively rendered the trichomonads unable to kill host cells, which is consistent with the contact-dependent nature of host cytotoxicity. These data show for the first time the involvement of T. vaginalis cysteine proteinases in parasite attachment to human epithelial cells. These results have implications for future pharmacologic intervention at a key step in infection

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1989
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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