200 research outputs found

    Global Profiling and Inhibition of Protein Lipidation in Vector and Host Stages of the Sleeping Sickness Parasite Trypanosoma brucei

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    The enzyme N-myristoyltransferase (NMT) catalyzes the essential fatty acylation of substrate proteins with myristic acid in eukaryotes and is a validated drug target in the parasite Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness). N-Myristoylation typically mediates membrane localization of proteins and is essential to the function of many. However, only a handful of proteins are experimentally validated as N-myristoylated in T. brucei. Here, we perform metabolic labeling with an alkyne-tagged myristic acid analogue, enabling the capture of lipidated proteins in insect and host life stages of T. brucei. We further compare this with a longer chain palmitate analogue to explore the chain length-specific incorporation of fatty acids into proteins. Finally, we combine the alkynyl-myristate analogue with NMT inhibitors and quantitative chemical proteomics to globally define N-myristoylated proteins in the clinically relevant bloodstream form parasites. This analysis reveals five ARF family small GTPases, calpain-like proteins, phosphatases, and many uncharacterized proteins as substrates of NMT in the parasite, providing a global view of the scope of this important protein modification and further evidence for the crucial and pleiotropic role of NMT in the cell

    Current and future strategies against cutaneous parasites

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    Cutaneous parasites are identified by their specific cutaneous symptoms which are elicited based on the parasite's interactions with the host. Standard anti-parasitic treatments primarily focus on the use of specific drugs to disrupt the regular function of the target parasite. In cases where secondary infections are induced by the parasite itself, antibiotics may also be used in tandem with the primary treatment to deal with the infection. Whilst drug-based treatments are highly effective, the development of resistance by bacteria and parasites, is increasingly prevalent in the modern day, thus requiring the development of non-drug based anti-parasitic strategies. Cutaneous parasites vary significantly in terms of the non-systemic methods that are required to deal with them. The main factors that need to be considered are the specifically elicited cutaneous symptoms and the relative cutaneous depth in which the parasites typically reside in. Due to the various differences in their migratory nature, certain cutaneous strategies are only viable for specific parasites, which then leads to the idea of developing an all-encompassing anti-parasitic strategy that works specifically against cutaneous parasites. The main benefit of this would be the overall time saved in regards to the period that is needed for accurate diagnosis of parasite, coupled with the prescription and application of the appropriate treatment based on the diagnosis. This review will assess the currently identified cutaneous parasites, detailing their life cycles which will allow for the identification of certain areas that could be exploited for the facilitation of cutaneous anti-parasitic treatment

    The Orthologue of Sjögren's Syndrome Nuclear Autoantigen 1 (SSNA1) in Trypanosoma brucei Is an Immunogenic Self-Assembling Molecule

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    Primary Sjögren's Syndrome (PSS) is a highly prevalent autoimmune disease, typically manifesting as lymphocytic infiltration of the exocrine glands leading to chronically impaired lacrimal and salivary secretion. Sjögren's Syndrome nuclear autoantigen 1 (SSNA1 or NA14) is a major specific target for autoantibodies in PSS but the precise function and clinical relevance of this protein are largely unknown. Orthologues of the gene are absent from many of the commonly used model organisms but are present in Chlamyodomonas reinhardtii (in which it has been termed DIP13) and most protozoa. We report the functional characterisation of the orthologue of SSNA1 in the kinetoplastid parasite, Trypanosoma brucei. Both TbDIP13 and human SSNA1 are small coiled-coil proteins which are predicted to be remote homologues of the actin-binding protein tropomyosin. We use comparative proteomic methods to identify potential interacting partners of TbDIP13. We also show evidence that TbDIP13 is able to self-assemble into fibril-like structures both in vitro and in vivo, a property which may contribute to its immunogenicity. Endogenous TbDIP13 partially co-localises with acetylated α-tubulin in the insect procyclic stage of the parasite. However, deletion of the DIP13 gene in cultured bloodstream and procyclic stages of T. brucei has little effect on parasite growth or morphology, indicating either a degree of functional redundancy or a function in an alternative stage of the parasite life cycle

    Temporal fluctuations in seawater pCO<inf>2</inf> may be as important as mean differences when determining physiological sensitivity in natural systems

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    Most studies assessing the impactsofocean acidification (OA) onbenthic marine invertebrates have used stable mean pH/pCO2 levelsto highlight variation in the physiological sensitivities in a range of taxa. However, many marine environments experience natural fluctuations in carbonate chemistry, and to date little attempt has been made to understand the effect of naturally fluctuating seawater pCO2 (pCO2sw) on the physiological capacity of organisms to maintain acid-base homeostasis. Here, for the first time, we exposed two species of sea urchin with different acid-base tolerances, Paracentrotus lividus and Arbacia lixula, to naturally fluctuating pCO2sw conditions at shallow water CO2 seep systems (Vulcano, Italy) and assessed their acid-base responses. Both sea urchin species experienced fluctuations in extracellular coelomic fluid pH, pCO2, and [HCO-3] (pHe, pCO2e, and [HCO-3]e, respectively) in line with fluctuations in pCO2sw. The less tolerant species, P. lividus, had the greatest capacity for [HCO-3]e buffering in response to acute pCO2sw fluctuations, but it also experienced greater extracellular hypercapnia and acidification and was thus unabletofully compensate for acid-basedisturbances. Conversely, themore tolerant A.lixula reliedonnon-bicarbonate protein buffering and greater respiratory control. In the light of these findings, we discuss the possible energetic consequences of increased reliance on bicarbonate buffering activity in P. lividus compared with A. lixula and how these differing physiological responses to acute fluctuations in pCO2sw may be as important as chronic responses to mean changes in pCO2sw when considering how CO2 emissions will affect survival and success of marine organisms within naturally assembled systems

    A proposal for a coordinated effort for the determination of brainwide neuroanatomical connectivity in model organisms at a mesoscopic scale

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    In this era of complete genomes, our knowledge of neuroanatomical circuitry remains surprisingly sparse. Such knowledge is however critical both for basic and clinical research into brain function. Here we advocate for a concerted effort to fill this gap, through systematic, experimental mapping of neural circuits at a mesoscopic scale of resolution suitable for comprehensive, brain-wide coverage, using injections of tracers or viral vectors. We detail the scientific and medical rationale and briefly review existing knowledge and experimental techniques. We define a set of desiderata, including brain-wide coverage; validated and extensible experimental techniques suitable for standardization and automation; centralized, open access data repository; compatibility with existing resources, and tractability with current informatics technology. We discuss a hypothetical but tractable plan for mouse, additional efforts for the macaque, and technique development for human. We estimate that the mouse connectivity project could be completed within five years with a comparatively modest budget.Comment: 41 page