(1/536) Site-directed mutagenesis of proline 204 in the 'hinge' region of yeast phosphoglycerate kinase.

Site-specific mutants have been produced in order to investigate the role of proline 204 in the 'hinge' region of yeast phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK). This totally conserved proline has been shown to be the only cis-proline in the high resolution crystal structures of yeast, B. stearothermophilus, T. brucei and T. maritima PGK, and may therefore have a role in the independent folding of the two domains or in the 'hinge' bending of the molecule during catalysis. The residue was replaced by a histidine (Pro204His) and a phenylalanine (Pro204Phe), and the resulting proteins characterised by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), circular dichroism (CD), tryptophan fluorescence emission and kinetic analysis. Although the secondary and tertiary structure of the Pro204His protein is generally similar to that of the wild-type enzyme as assessed by CD, the enzyme is less stable to heat and guanidinium chloride denaturation than the wild-type. In the denaturation experiments two transitions were observed for both the wild-type and the Pro204His mutant, as have been previously reported for yeast PGK [Missiakas, D., Betton, J.M., Minard, P. & Yon, J.M. (1990) Biochemistry 29, 8683-8689]. The first transition is accompanied by an increase in fluorescence intensity leading to a hyperfluorescent state, followed by the second, corresponding to a decrease in fluorescence intensity. However, for the Pro204His mutant, the first transition proceeded at lower concentrations of guanidinium chloride and the second transition proceeded to the same extent as for the wild-type protein, suggesting that sequence-distant interactions are more rapidly disrupted in this mutant enzyme than in the wild-type enzyme, while sequence-local interactions are disrupted in a similar way. The Michaelis constants (K(m)) for both 3-phospho-D-glycerate and ATP are increased only by three or fourfold, which confirms that, as expected, the substrate binding sites are largely unaffected by the mutation. However, the turnover and efficiency of the Pro204His mutant is severely impaired, indicating that the mechanism of 'hinge' bending is hindered. The Pro204Phe enzyme was shown to be significantly less well folded than the wild-type and Pro204His enzymes, with considerable loss of both secondary and tertiary structure. It is proposed that the proline residue at 204 in the 'hinge' region of PGK plays a role in the stability and catalytic mechanism of the enzyme.  (+info)

(2/536) A cell-free assay for glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchoring in African trypanosomes. Demonstration of a transamidation reaction mechanism.

We established an in vitro assay for the addition of glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchors to proteins using procyclic trypanosomes engineered to express GPI-anchored variant surface glycoprotein (VSG). The assay is based on the premise that small nucleophiles, such as hydrazine, can substitute for the GPI moiety and effect displacement of the membrane anchor of a GPI-anchored protein or pro-protein causing release of the protein into the aqueous medium. Cell membranes containing pulse-radiolabeled VSG were incubated with hydrazine, and the VSG released from the membranes was measured by carbonate extraction, immunoprecipitation, and SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis/fluorography. Release of VSG was time- and temperature-dependent, was stimulated by hydrazine, and occurred only for VSG molecules situated in early compartments of the secretory pathway. No nucleophile-induced VSG release was seen in membranes prepared from cells expressing a VSG variant with a conventional transmembrane anchor (i.e. a nonfunctional GPI signal sequence). Pro-VSG was shown to be a substrate in the reaction by assaying membranes prepared from cells treated with mannosamine, a GPI biosynthesis inhibitor. When a biotinylated derivative of hydrazine was used instead of hydrazine, the released VSG could be precipitated with streptavidin-agarose, indicating that the biotin moiety was covalently incorporated into the protein. Hydrazine was shown to block the C terminus of the released VSG hydrazide because the released material, unlike a truncated form of VSG lacking a GPI signal sequence, was not susceptible to proteolysis by carboxypeptidases. These results firmly establish that the released material in our assay is VSG hydrazide and strengthen the proof that GPI anchoring proceeds via a transamidation reaction mechanism. The reaction could be inhibited with sulfhydryl alkylating reagents, suggesting that the transamidase enzyme contains a functionally important sulfhydryl residue.  (+info)

(3/536) Aggregation and distribution of strains in microparasites.

Recent research has shown that many parasite populations are made up of a number of epidemiologically distinct strains or genotypes. The implications of strain structure or genetic diversity for parasite population dynamics are still uncertain, partly because there is no coherent framework for the interpretation of field data. Here, we present an analysis of four published data sets for vector-borne microparasite infections where strains or genotypes have been distinguished: serotypes of African horse sickness (AHS) in zebra; types of Nannomonas trypanosomes in tsetse flies; parasite-induced erythrocyte surface antigen (PIESA) based isolates of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in humans, and the merozoite surface protein 2 gene (MSP-2) alleles of P. falciparum in humans and in anopheline mosquitoes. For each data set we consider the distribution of strains or types among hosts and any pairwise associations between strains or types. Where host age data are available we also compare age-prevalence relationships and estimates of the force of infection. Multiple infections of hosts are common and for most data sets infections have an aggregated distribution among hosts with a tendency towards positive associations between certain strains or types. These patterns could result from interactions (facilitation) between strains or types, or they could reflect patterns of contact between hosts and vectors. We use a mathematical model to illustrate the impact of host-vector contact patterns, finding that even if contact is random there may still be significant aggregation in parasite distributions. This effect is enhanced if there is non-random contact or other heterogeneities between hosts, vectors or parasites. In practice, different strains or types also have different forces of infection. We anticipate that aggregated distributions and positive associations between microparasite strains or types will be extremely common.  (+info)

(4/536) Antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity in cattle: activity against 51Cr-labeled chicken erythrocytes coated with protozoal antigens.

Bovine mononuclear cells in the presence of bovine anti-chicken erythrocyte sera at high dilutions induce release of chromium-51 from labeled chicken erythrocytes. Bovine effector cells are capable of recognizing both bovine immunoglobulin G(1) and bovine immunoglobulin G(2); in contrast, human effector cells only recognize immunoglobulin G(1). Effector cell activity of bovine mononuclear cells is equally distributed between peripheral blood and spleen. As in other species, thymus and lymph node cells exert no antibody-dependent effect, although some direct cytotoxicity by lymph node cells may be observed. Antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity against a bovine cell line can also be detected. By using a tannic acid technique, it was found that chicken erythrocytes coated with Theileria parva piroplasm antigen or with Trypanosoma rhodesiense variant-specific coat antigen form suitable targets for bovine antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity assays. By using such targets, a moderate degree of direct cytotoxicity by bovine mononuclear cells, in the absence of antibody, is always observed; this may be reduced by choosing optimal conditions of tannic acid treatment and antigen sensitization and by the use of short incubation periods for the cytotoxicity assay. Observations have been made on the variant specificity, time course of appearance, and association with immunoglobulin G(1) of the antibody activity responsible for cell-dependent cytotoxicity against chicken erythrocytes coated with T. rhodesiense antigens. The potential usefulness of this technique in the analysis of protective immune responses against protozoal infections is discussed.  (+info)

(5/536) The structure, biosynthesis and functions of glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchors, and the contributions of trypanosome research.

The discovery of glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) membrane anchors has had a significant impact on several areas of eukaryote cell biology. Studies of the African trypanosome, which expresses a dense surface coat of GPI-anchored variant surface glycoprotein, have played important roles in establishing the general structure of GPI membrane anchors and in delineating the pathway of GPI biosynthesis. The major cell-surface molecules of related parasites are also rich in GPI-anchored glycoproteins and/or GPI-related glycophospholipids, and differences in substrate specificity between enzymes of trypanosomal and mammalian GPI biosynthesis may have potential for the development of anti-parasite therapies. Apart from providing stable membrane anchorage, GPI anchors have been implicated in the sequestration of GPI-anchored proteins into specialised membrane microdomains, known as lipid rafts, and in signal transduction events.  (+info)

(6/536) Polymorphism in trypomastigotes of Trypanosoma (Megatrypanum) minasense in the blood of experimentally infected squirrel monkey and marmosets.

Experimental infections by Trypanosoma (Megatrypanum) minasense were performed in primates - Saimiri sciureus and Callithrix penicillata - with the objective of searching for morphological variations of the blood trypomastigotes with respect to hosts and time of infection. We carried out morphological and morphometric analysis of blood trypomastigotes. Illustrations are given. Both the squirrel monkey and marmoset became infected after the injection of blood trypomastigotes of T. minasense, although the parasitaemia were briefer in the squirrel monkey. The parasites detected in the later host were narrower and shorter than those found in the inoculated marmoset. In the marmoset, the blood stream parasites derived from culture metacyclic trypomastigotes were considerably smaller than those derived from the inoculation of infected blood. Stronger evidence of polymorphism was found when, at the same time of infection, the blood trypomastigotes found in squirrel monkey had smaller length, body width and the distance from posterior end of the body to the kinetoplast almost four times smaller than the parasite found in the marmoset. Therefore, conflicting results on morphology and morphometry of T. minasense obtained by previous investigators could be due to polymorphism.  (+info)

(7/536) Evaluation of antigen detection and antibody detection tests for Trypanosoma evansi infections of buffaloes in Indonesia.

Two Ag-ELISAs, an IgG-specific antibody detection ELISA (IgG ELISA) and a card agglutination test (CATT) for the detection of Trypanasoma evansi infections in buffaloes in Indonesia, were compared. Diagnostic sensitivity estimates were obtained by testing sera from 139 Indonesian buffaloes which had been found to be infected by parasitological tests. Diagnostic specificity was estimated by testing sera from 263 buffaloes living in Australia. Response-operating characteristic curves were constructed, and optimal ELISA cut-off values, which minimized the number of false-negative and false-positive results, were chosen. The IgG ELISA had the highest sensitivity (89%) and the CATT had the highest specificity (100%). There was a significant difference between the sensitivities (71 and 81%), but not between the specificities (75 and 78%), of the two Ag-ELISAs. The four tests were further compared by calculation of post-test probabilities of infection for positive and negative test results using a range of prevalence values, and likelihood ratios. The results suggested that the CATT was the best test to 'rule-in' infection (i.e. the highest probability of infection in test-positive animals) and the IgG ELISA was the best test to 'rule-out' infection (i.e. the lowest probability of infection in test-negative animals).  (+info)

(8/536) Use of polymerase chain reaction in human African trypanosomiasis stage determination and follow-up.

Stage determination of human African trypanosomiasis is based on the detection of parasites and measurements of biological changes in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) (concentration of white blood cells > 5 cells per mm3 and increased total protein levels). The patient is treated accordingly. Demonstration of the absence or presence of trypanosomes by the double centrifugation technique is still the only test available to clinicians for assessing treatment success. In this study, however, we evaluate the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) as a tool for assessing the disease stage of trypanosomiasis and for determining whether treatment has been successful. All 15 study patients considered to be in the advanced stage of the disease were PCR positive; however, trypanosomes were demonstrated by double centrifugation in only 11 patients. Of the five remaining patients, who were considered to be in the early stage, PCR and double centrifugation were negative. Following treatment, 13 of the 15 second-stage patients were found to be negative for the disease in at least two samples by PCR and double centrifugation. Two others were still positive by PCR immediately and one month after the treatment. Trypanosome DNA detection using PCR suggested that the two positive patients were not cured but that their possible relapse could not be identified by a search for parasites using the double centrifugation technique. Further evaluation of the PCR method is required, in particular to determine whether PCR assays could be used in studies on patients who fail to respond to melarsoprol, as observed in several foci.  (+info)