Kinetoplast DNA minicircles of Leishmania donovani express a protein product.
We describe an unprecedented finding of an open reading frame present in the variable region in one of the minicircle sequence classes of a human pathogenic strain of Leishmania donovani (MHOM/IN/90/RMRI 68) which is transcribed and translated. The encoded protein showed homologies to known transport proteins. (+info)
Disruption of the Toxoplasma gondii bradyzoite-specific gene BAG1 decreases in vivo cyst formation.
The bradyzoite stage of the Apicomplexan protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii plays a critical role in maintenance of latent infection. We reported previously the cloning of a bradyzoite-specific gene BAG1/hsp30 (previously referred to as BAG5) encoding a cytoplasmic antigen related to small heat shock proteins. We have now disrupted BAG1 in the T. gondii PLK strain by homologous recombination. H7, a cloned null mutant, and Y8, a control positive for both cat and BAG1, were chosen for further characterization. Immunofluorescence and Western blot analysis of bradyzoites with BAG1 antisera demonstrated expression of BAG1 in the Y8 and the PLK strain but no expression in H7. All three strains expressed a 116 kDa bradyzoite cyst wall antigen, a 29 kDa matrix antigen and the 65 kDa matrix reactive antigen MAG1. Mice inoculated with H7 parasites formed significantly fewer cysts than those inoculated with the Y8 and the PLK strains. H7 parasites were complemented with BAG1 using phleomycin selection. Cyst formation in vivo for the BAG1-complemented H7 parasites was similar to wild-type parasites. We therefore conclude that BAG1 is not essential for cyst formation, but facilitates formation of cysts in vivo. (+info)
An evaluation of elongation factor 1 alpha as a phylogenetic marker for eukaryotes.
Elongation factor 1 alpha (EF-1 alpha) is a highly conserved ubiquitous protein involved in translation that has been suggested to have desirable properties for phylogenetic inference. To examine the utility of EF-1 alpha as a phylogenetic marker for eukaryotes, we studied three properties of EF-1 alpha trees: congruency with other phyogenetic markers, the impact of species sampling, and the degree of substitutional saturation occurring between taxa. Our analyses indicate that the EF-1 alpha tree is congruent with some other molecular phylogenies in identifying both the deepest branches and some recent relationships in the eukaryotic line of descent. However, the topology of the intermediate portion of the EF-1 alpha tree, occupied by most of the protist lineages, differs for different phylogenetic methods, and bootstrap values for branches are low. Most problematic in this region is the failure of all phylogenetic methods to resolve the monophyly of two higher-order protistan taxa, the Ciliophora and the Alveolata. JACKMONO analyses indicated that the impact of species sampling on bootstrap support for most internal nodes of the eukaryotic EF-1 alpha tree is extreme. Furthermore, a comparison of observed versus inferred numbers of substitutions indicates that multiple overlapping substitutions have occurred, especially on the branch separating the Eukaryota from the Archaebacteria, suggesting that the rooting of the eukaryotic tree on the diplomonad lineage should be treated with caution. Overall, these results suggest that the phylogenies obtained from EF-1 alpha are congruent with other molecular phylogenies in recovering the monophyly of groups such as the Metazoa, Fungi, Magnoliophyta, and Euglenozoa. However, the interrelationships between these and other protist lineages are not well resolved. This lack of resolution may result from the combined effects of poor taxonomic sampling, relatively few informative positions, large numbers of overlapping substitutions that obscure phylogenetic signal, and lineage-specific rate increases in the EF-1 alpha data set. It is also consistent with the nearly simultaneous diversification of major eukaryotic lineages implied by the "big-bang" hypothesis of eukaryote evolution. (+info)
The involvement of gRNA-binding protein gBP21 in RNA editing-an in vitro and in vivo analysis.
RNA editing in the parasitic organism Trypanosoma brucei is characterised by the insertion and deletion of uridylate residues into otherwise incomplete primary transcripts. The processing reaction is a required pathway for the expression of most mitochondrial genes and proceeds by a cascade of enzyme-catalysed steps. RNA editing involves one or more macromolecular ribonucleoprotein complexes which are likely to interact with additional components as the reaction proceeds. Here we examined the involvement of the gRNA-binding polypeptide gBP21, a protein which has been demonstrated to be associated with active RNA editing complexes. We show that in vitro RNA editing can be suppressed by the addition of a gBP21-specific antibody or by immunodepletion of the protein. By creating a gBP21 knockout mutant we analysed the requirement for the protein in vivo. gBP21(-) trypanosomes are viable as bloodstream stage cells and contain edited mRNAs. However, the knockout mutant is not capable of differentiating from the bloodstream to the insect life cycle stage in vitro. Moreover, mutant cells are characterised by a low mitochondrial transcript abundance. Together, these data establish that gBP21 contributes a non-essential function to the RNA editing reaction and further suggest that the protein is involved in additional mitochondrial processes which impact a larger pool of mitochondrial transcripts. (+info)
Interaction of 5-lipoxygenase with cellular proteins.
5-Lipoxygenase (5LO) plays a pivotal role in cellular leukotriene synthesis. To identify proteins interacting with human 5LO, we used a two-hybrid approach to screen a human lung cDNA library. From a total of 1.5 x 10(7) yeast transformants, nine independent clones representing three different proteins were isolated and found to specifically interact with 5LO. Four 1.7- to 1.8-kb clones represented a 16-kDa protein named coactosin-like protein for its significant homology with coactosin, a protein found to be associated with actin in Dictyostelium discoideum. Coactosin-like protein thus may provide a link between 5LO and the cytoskeleton. Two other yeast clones of 1.5 kb encoded transforming growth factor (TGF) type beta receptor-I-associated protein 1 partial cDNA. TGF type beta receptor-I-associated protein 1 recently has been reported to associate with the activated form of the TGF beta receptor I and may be involved in the TGF beta-induced up-regulation of 5LO expression and activity observed in HL-60 and Mono Mac 6 cells. Finally, three identical 2.1-kb clones contained the partial cDNA of a human protein with high homology to a hypothetical helicase K12H4. 8 from Caenorhabditis elegans and consequently was named DeltaK12H4. 8 homologue. Analysis of the predicted amino acid sequence revealed the presence of a RNase III motif and a double-stranded RNA binding domain, indicative of a protein of nuclear origin. The identification of these 5LO-interacting proteins provides additional approaches to studies of the cellular functions of 5LO. (+info)
Expression of a Hox gene, Cnox-2, and the division of labor in a colonial hydroid.
We report the isolation and expression of the Hox gene, Cnox-2, in Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus, a hydrozoan displaying division of labor. We found different patterns of aboral-to-oral Cnox-2 expression among polyp polymorphs, and we show that experimental conversion of one polyp type to another is accompanied by concordant alteration in Cnox-2 expression. Our results are consistent with the suggestion that polyp polymorphism, characteristic of hydractiniid hydroids, arose via evolutionary modification of proportioning of head to body column. (+info)
Intraerythrocytic Plasmodium falciparum expresses a high affinity facilitative hexose transporter.
Asexual stages of Plasmodium falciparum cause severe malaria and are dependent upon host glucose for energy. We have identified a glucose transporter of P. falciparum (PfHT1) and studied its function and expression during parasite development in vitro. PfHT1 is a saturable, sodium-independent, and stereospecific transporter, which is inhibited by cytochalasin B, and has a relatively high affinity for glucose (Km = 0.48 mM) when expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. Competition experiments with glucose analogues show that hydroxyl groups at positions C-3 and C-4 are important for ligand binding. mRNA levels for PfHT1, assessed by the quantitative technique of tandem competitive polymerase chain reaction, are highest during the small ring stages of infection and lowest in gametocytes. Confocal immunofluorescence microscopy localizes PfHT1 to the region of the parasite plasma membrane and not to host structures. These findings have implications for development of new drug targets in malaria as well as for understanding of the pathophysiology of severe infection. When hypoglycemia complicates malaria, modeling studies suggest that the high affinity of PfHT1 is likely to increase the relative proportion of glucose taken up by parasites and thereby worsen the clinical condition. (+info)
Induction of CD8+ T cell-mediated protective immunity against Trypanosoma cruzi.
Trypanosoma cruzi was transformed with the Plasmodium yoelii gene encoding the circum-sporozoite (CS) protein, which contains the well-characterized CD8+ T cell epitope, SYVPSAEQI. In vivo and in vitro assays indicated that cells infected with the transformed T. cruzi could process and present this malaria parasite-derived class I MHC-restricted epitope. Immunization of mice with recombinant influenza and vaccinia viruses expressing the SYVPSAEQI epitope induced a large number of specific CD8+ T cells that strongly suppressed parasitemia and conferred complete protection against the acute T. cruzi lethal infection. CD8+ T cells mediated this immunity as indicated by the unrelenting parasitemia and high mortality observed in immunized mice treated with anti-CD8 antibody. This study demonstrated, for the first time, that vaccination of mice with vectors designed to induce CD8+ T cells is effective against T. cruzi infection. (+info)