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Tag: Roberto Docampo

Inorganic Polyphosphate Interacts with Nucleolar and Glycosomal Proteins in Trypanosomatids


Inorganic polyphosphate (polyP) is a polymer of three to hundreds of phosphate units bound by high‐energy phosphoanhydride bonds and present from bacteria to humans. Most polyP in trypanosomatids is concentrated in acidocalcisomes, acidic calcium stores that possess a number of pumps, exchangers, and channels, and are important for their survival. In this work, using polyP as bait we identified > 25 putative protein targets in cell lysates of both Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma brucei. Gene ontology analysis of the binding partners found a significant over‐representation of nucleolar and glycosomal proteins. Using the polyphosphate‐binding domain (PPBD) of Escherichia coliexopolyphosphatase (PPX), we localized long‐chain polyP to the nucleoli and glycosomes of trypanosomes. A competitive assay based on the pre‐incubation of PPBD with exogenous polyP and subsequent immunofluorescence assay of procyclic forms (PCF) of T. brucei showed polyP concentration‐dependent and chain length‐dependent decrease in the fluorescence signal. Subcellular fractionation experiments confirmed the presence of polyP in glycosomes of T. brucei PCF. Targeting of yeast PPX to the glycosomes of PCF resulted in polyP hydrolysis, alteration in their glycolytic flux and increase in their susceptibility to oxidative stress.

Raquel S. Negreiros, Noelia Lander, Guozhong Huang, Ciro D. Cordeiro, Stephanie A. Smith, James H. Morrissey, Roberto Docampo. 2018. Molecular Microbiology; 110(6):973-994.

Calcium-sensitive pyruvate dehydrogenase phosphatase is required for energy metabolism, growth, differentiation, and infectivity of Trypanosoma cruzi


In vertebrate cells, mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake by the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) leads to Ca2+-mediated stimulation of an intramitochondrial pyruvate dehydrogenase phosphatase (PDP). This enzyme dephosphorylates serine residues in the E1α subunit of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH), thereby activating PDH and resulting in increased ATP production. Although a phosphorylation–dephosphorylation cycle for the E1α subunit of PDH from non-vertebrate organisms has been described, the Ca2+-mediated PDP activation has not been studied. In this work we investigated the Ca2+ sensitivity of two recombinant PDPs from the protozoan human parasites Trypanosoma cruzi (TcPDP) and Trypanosoma brucei (TbPDP) and generated a TcPDP-KO cell line to establish TcPDP’s role in cell bioenergetics and survival. Moreover, the mitochondrial localization of the TcPDP was studied by CRISPR/Cas9-mediated endogenous tagging. Our results indicate that TcPDP and TbPDP both are Ca2+-sensitive phosphatases. Of note, TcPDP-KO epimastigotes exhibited increased levels of phosphorylated TcPDH, slower growth and lower oxygen consumption rates than control cells, an increased AMP:ATP ratio and autophagy under starvation conditions, and reduced differentiation into infective metacyclic forms. Furthermore, TcPDP-KO trypomastigotes were impaired in infecting culture host cells. We conclude that TcPDP is a Ca2+-stimulated mitochondrial phosphatase that dephosphorylates TcPDH and is required for normal growth, differentiation, infectivity and energy metabolism in T. cruzi.  Our results support the view that one of the main roles of the MCU is linked to the regulation of intramitochondrial dehydrogenases.

Noelia Lander, Miguel A. Chiurillo, Mayara S. Bertolini, Melissa Storey, Anibal E. Vercesi and Roberto Docampo. 2018. Journal of Biological Chemistry; 293(45):17402-17417. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA118.004498