(1/2519) Tandem amino acid repeats from Trypanosoma cruzi shed antigens increase the half-life of proteins in blood.

Proteins containing amino acid repeats are widespread among protozoan parasites. It has been suggested that these repetitive structures act as immunomodulators, but other functional aspects may be of primary importance. We have recently suggested that tandem repeats present in Trypanosoma cruzi trans-sialidase stabilize the catalytic activity in blood. Because the parasite releases trans-sialidase, this delayed clearance of the enzyme might have implications in vivo. In the present work, the ability of repetitive units from different T. cruzi molecules in stabilizing trans-sialidase activity in blood was evaluated. It is shown that repeats present on T. cruzi shed proteins (antigens 13 and Shed-Acute-Phase-Antigen [SAPA]) increase trans-sialidase half-life in blood from 7 to almost 35 hours. Conversely, those repeats present in intracellular T. cruzi proteins only increase the enzyme half-life in blood up to 15 hours. Despite these results, comparative analysis of structural and catalytic properties of both groups of chimeric enzymes show no substantial differences. Interestingly, antigens 13 and SAPA also increase the persistence in blood of chimeric glutathione S-transferases, thus suggesting that this effect is inherent to these repeats and independent of the carrier protein. Although the molecular basis of this phenomenon is still uncertain, its biotechnological potential can be envisaged.  (+info)

(2/2519) 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)

(3/2519) Chagas' disease diagnosis: comparative analysis of parasitologic, molecular, and serologic methods.

During the course of chronic chagasic infection, low parasitemia levels prevent parasite detection by current techniques such as hemoculture and xenodiagnosis. Since serologic tests have sensitivity but lack specificity, molecular assays based on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) have been proposed as alternative tools for parasite detection in individuals with chronic Chagas' disease. A variable degree of PCR efficiency has been reported in the literature and illustrates the need for further evaluation of large numbers of chagasic patients. In this study, we compared an optimized PCR technique with hemoculture and complement-mediated lysis (CoML) in 113 individuals from or living in endemic areas of Brazil who had conventional serologic results that were either positive, negative, or inconclusive. The PCR amplification yielded positive results in 83.5% (66 of 79) of individuals with positive serology, 47.6% (10 of 21) with negative serology, and 46.2% (6 of 13) with inconclusive serology. Of 10 patients with negative serology and positive PCR result, eight (80%) had positive CoML, indicating that they could have been chagasic but were not mounting immune responses. The PCR results were also positive for all individuals who had positive hemoculture, for 37 individuals with negative hemoculture and positive serology, and for two of six individuals with inconclusive serology and negative hemoculture. Thirteen individuals living in nonendemic areas who had negative serology were used as a negative control group: 100% had negative PCR results. Our results show that the optimized PCR protocol used here was very sensitive in detecting the presence of Trypanosoma cruzi in chronic chagasic patients. The PCR and CoML results were well correlated in all of the groups studied, which suggests that our PCR protocol may be effective in the evaluation of cure in patients who receive anti-parasite treatment.  (+info)

(4/2519) Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for IgA antibodies to Trypanosoma cruzi in congenital infection.

With the aim of achieving earlier diagnosis of congenital Trypanosoma cruzi infection, we assessed the usefulness of detecting specific IgA antibody by an ELISA. We evaluated 12 pregnant women chronically infected with T. cruzi, their newborn infants, and three additional neonates with parasitemia at birth. The IgA-specific antibody was detected by adapting the procedure for use of a commercial IgG ELISA, the Hemagen Chagas' Kit (Hemagen Diagnostics, Inc., Waltham, MA). Trypanosoma cruzi-specific IgA was detected in 10 (83%) of 12 mothers at delivery, in one of three parasitemic infants, and one of 12 newborns of the chronically infected women. Testing of 13 infants at six months of age revealed IgA in seven infants (54%), of whom four also had persistent T. cruzi-specific IgG. Detection of T. cruzi-specific IgA could provide a criterion for diagnosis of congenital infection in the absence of detectable parasitemia.  (+info)

(5/2519) The anti-influenza virus drug rimantadine has trypanocidal activity.

We report here that bloodstream forms of the African trypanosome, Trypanosoma brucei, are sensitive to the anti-influenza virus drug rimantadine (50% inhibitory concentration of 1.26 micrograms ml-1 at pH 7.4). The activity is pH dependent and is consistent with a mechanism involving inhibition of the ability to regulate internal pH. Rimantadine is also toxic to the trypanosomatid parasites Trypanosoma cruzi and Leishmania major.  (+info)

(6/2519) A multi-epitope synthetic peptide and recombinant protein for the detection of antibodies to Trypanosoma cruzi in radioimmunoprecipitation-confirmed and consensus-positive sera.

Peptide epitopes of Trypanosoma cruzi have been identified through expression cloning. A tripeptide (2/D/E) containing three epitopes (TcD, TcE, PEP-2) was used in ELISA to detect antibodies to T. cruzi in 239 of 240 consensus-positive sera and 41 of 42 sera confirmed positive by radioimmunoprecipitation assay. The 1 discrepant consensus-positive serum was used to expression-clone a novel gene that contained a repeat sequence. A peptide corresponding to this sequence, TcLo1.2, was specific for T. cruzi. This antigen detected the discrepant consensus-positive serum and enhanced reactivity of low-positive sera in the tripeptide assay. A branched synthetic peptide, 2/D/E/Lo1.2, or a linear recombinant, r2/D/E/Lo1.2, realized all of the diagnostic features of the four epitopes, including the ability to boost reactivity of low-reactive sera. These studies show that peptides and recombinants containing multiple repeat epitopes are powerful tools for developing assays for T. cruzi antibody detection and have direct application in blood screening.  (+info)

(7/2519) Evaluation of recombinant antigens for serodiagnosis of Chagas' disease in South and Central America.

The commercially available diagnostic tests for Chagas' disease employ whole extracts or semipurified fractions of Trypanosoma cruzi epimastigotes. Considerable variation in the reproducibility and reliability of these tests has been reported by different research laboratories, mainly due to cross-reactivity with other pathogens and standardization of the reagents. The use of recombinant antigens for the serodiagnosis of Chagas' disease is recommended to increase the sensitivity and specificity of serological tests. Expressed in Escherichia coli, as fusion products with glutathione S-transferase, six T. cruzi recombinant antigens (H49, JL7, A13, B13, JL8, and 1F8) were evaluated in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for Chagas' disease. The study was carried out with a panel of 541 serum samples of chagasic and nonchagasic patients from nine countries of Latin America (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Venezuela). The optimal concentration of each recombinant antigen for coating of plates was determined with the help of 125I-labelled recombinant proteins. While the specificity of the epimastigote antigen was 84% because of false positives from leishmaniasis cases, for the recombinant antigens it varied from 96.2 to 99.6%. Recombinant antigens reacted with 79 to 100% of serum samples from chronic chagasic patients. In this way, it is proposed that a mixture of a few T. cruzi recombinant antigens should be employed in a diagnostic kit to minimize individual variation and promote high sensitivity in the diagnosis of Chagas' disease.  (+info)

(8/2519) Flagellar protein localization mediated by a calcium-myristoyl/palmitoyl switch mechanism.

The mechanisms by which proteins are targeted to flagella and cilia are poorly understood. We set out to determine the basis for the specific localization of a 24 kDa flagellar calcium-binding protein (FCaBP) expressed in all life cycle stages of Trypanosoma cruzi. Through the study of trypanosome transfectants expressing various FCaBP deletion mutants, we found that the N-terminal 24 amino acids of the protein are necessary and sufficient for flagellar localization. Subsequent experiments revealed that FCaBP is myristoylated and palmitoylated and, in fact, is one of very few proteins in the cell possessing these acyl modifications. Both fatty acids are required for flagellar localization, suggesting that FCaBP localization may be mediated through association with the flagellar plasma membrane. Indeed, FCaBP associates with the flagellar membrane in a calcium-dependent manner, reminiscent of the recoverin family of calcium-myristoyl switch proteins. Thus, FCaBP is a novel member of the calcium-acyl switch protein family and is the only member described to date that requires two fatty acid modifications for specific membrane association. Its unique localization mechanism is the first described for any flagellar protein. The existence of such a protein in this protozoan suggests that acylation and calcium switch mechanisms for regulated membrane association are conserved among eukaryotes.  (+info)