The Inositol Pyrophosphate Biosynthetic Pathway of Trypanosoma cruzi
Inositol phosphates (IPs) are phosphorylated derivatives of myo-inositol involved in the regulation of several cellular processes through their interaction with specific proteins. Their synthesis relies on the activity of specific kinases that use ATP as phosphate donor. Here, we combined reverse genetics and liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (LC-MS) to dissect the inositol phosphate biosynthetic pathway and its metabolic intermediates in the main life cycle stages (epimastigotes, cell-derived trypomastigotes, and amastigotes) of Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiologic agent of Chagas disease. We found evidence of the presence of highly phosphorylated IPs, like inositol hexakisphosphate (IP6), inositol heptakisphosphate (IP7), and inositol octakisphosphate (IP8), that were not detected before by HPLC analyses of the products of radiolabeled exogenous inositol. The kinases involved in their synthesis (inositol polyphosphate multikinase (TcIPMK), inositol 5-phosphate kinase (TcIP5K), and inositol 6-phosphate kinase (TcIP6K)) were also identified. TcIPMK is dispensable in epimastigotes, important for the synthesis of polyphosphate, and critical for the virulence of the infective stages. TcIP5K is essential for normal epimastigote growth, while TcIP6K mutants displayed defects in epimastigote motility and growth. Our results demonstrate the relevance of highly phosphorylated IPs in the life cycle of T. cruzi.