bims-toxgon Biomed News
on Toxoplasma gondii metabolism
Issue of 2023‒11‒05
twenty-six papers selected by
Lakesh Kumar, BITS Pilani

  1. Microbiol Spectr. 2023 Nov 01. e0007423
      Toxoplasma gondii is an important intracellular protozoan, which needs to exploit host nutrition for successful parasitism. We previously reported that Casitas B-lineage lymphoma-b (Cbl-b) was screened as a host dependency factor of T. gondii by using lentiviral CRISPR-Cas9-single guide RNA (sgRNA) libraries. Furthermore, the detailed mechanism of Cbl-b being required by T. gondii infection was explored in this study. The proliferation of T. gondii was found to be significantly inhibited in Cbl-b knockdown cell lines, and the Cbl-b expression level increased with prolonged T. gondii infection, while the MyD88 level was significantly decreased in the T. gondii infection group. Toll-like receptor (TLR)/MyD88 is a conserved innate cellular immune signaling pathway against pathogens infection. Cbl-b was found to interact with MyD88 and mediate MyD88 ubiquitination in the fluorescence resonance energy transfer and co-immunoprecipitation experiments. A Cbl-b knockout (KO) C57BL/6J lineage was then constructed and, together with the wild-type (WT) mice, was infected with the same amount of T. gondii tachyzoites of ME49 strain. At 13 days post infection, all the mice in the WT group died, while 80% of the mice in the Cbl-b KO group still survived, even to the end of the experiment. The parasitic burden in the liver, lung, and brain of the Cbl-b KO mice was significantly lower than that of the WT mice (P < 0.05). In Cbl-b KO infected mice, the percentage of B cells was higher, whereas that of macrophages was lower, and the interferon-γ and interleukin-6 levels in the serum were higher than that in the WT infected mice; the difference was significant (P < 0.05). Furthermore, when host cells were infected by T. gondii, host's Cbl-b was found to interact with MyD88 to ubiquitinate MyD88 for ribosome-dependent degradation. Therefore, the host's innate immunity against T. gondii through the TLR/MyD88 pathway was negatively regulated by Cbl-b.IMPORTANCEThis is the first report that a human E3 ubiquitin ligase, Casitas B-lineage lymphoma proto-oncogene B (Cbl-b), functions as a host dependency factor for the intracellular protozoan Toxoplasma gondii and the mechanism for how T. gondii infection inhibits the TLR/MyD88 innate immunity pathway through MyD88 degradation mediated by Cbl-b. This finding is an impactful contribution for understanding the host cell immunity against T. gondii infection.
    Keywords:  Cbl-b; TLRs/MyD88; Toxoplasma gondii; ubiquitination
  2. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Nov 07. 120(45): e2308569120
      Toxoplasma gondii is a zoonotic protist pathogen that infects up to one third of the human population. This apicomplexan parasite contains three genome sequences: nuclear (65 Mb); plastid organellar, ptDNA (35 kb); and mitochondrial organellar, mtDNA (5.9 kb of non-repetitive sequence). We find that the nuclear genome contains a significant amount of NUMTs (nuclear integrants of mitochondrial DNA) and NUPTs (nuclear integrants of plastid DNA) that are continuously acquired and represent a significant source of intraspecific genetic variation. NUOT (nuclear DNA of organellar origin) accretion has generated 1.6% of the extant T. gondii ME49 nuclear genome-the highest fraction ever reported in any organism. NUOTs are primarily found in organisms that retain the non-homologous end-joining repair pathway. Significant movement of organellar DNA was experimentally captured via amplicon sequencing of a CRISPR-induced double-strand break in non-homologous end-joining repair competent, but not ku80 mutant, Toxoplasma parasites. Comparisons with Neospora caninum, a species that diverged from Toxoplasma ~28 mya, revealed that the movement and fixation of five NUMTs predates the split of the two genera. This unexpected level of NUMT conservation suggests evolutionary constraint for cellular function. Most NUMT insertions reside within (60%) or nearby genes (23% within 1.5 kb), and reporter assays indicate that some NUMTs have the ability to function as cis-regulatory elements modulating gene expression. Together, these findings portray a role for organellar sequence insertion in dynamically shaping the genomic architecture and likely contributing to adaptation and phenotypic changes in this important human pathogen.
    Keywords:  Coccidia; non-homologous end-joining repair—NHEJ; nuclear DNA of organellar origin—NUOT; nuclear integrants of mitochondrial DNA—NUMTs; nuclear integrants of plastid DNA—NUPTs
  3. Parasite. 2023 ;30 46
      Toxoplasmosis is caused by Toxoplasma gondii, which infects all warm-blooded animals, including humans. Currently, control measures for T. gondii infection are insufficient due to the lack of effective medications or vaccines. In this paper, recombinant T. gondii uridine phosphorylase (rTgUPase) was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified via Ni2+-NTA agarose. rTgUPase was inoculated intranasally into BALB/c mice, and the induced immune responses were evaluated by mucosal and humoral antibody and cytokine assays and lymphoproliferative measurements. Moreover, the protective effect against the T. gondii RH strain infection was assessed by calculating the burdens of tachyzoites in the liver and brain and by recording the survival rate and time. Our results revealed that mice immunised with 30 μg rTgUPase produced significantly higher levels of secretory IgA (sIgA) in nasal, intestinal, vaginal and vesical washes and synthesised higher levels of total IgG, IgG1 and, in particular, IgG2a in their blood sera. rTgUPase immunisation increased the production of IFN-gamma, interleukin IL-2 and IL-4, but not IL-10 from isolated mouse spleen cells and enhanced splenocyte proliferation in vitro. rTgUPase-inoculated mice were effectively protected against infection with the T. gondii RH strain, showing considerable reduction of tachyzoite burdens in liver and brain tissues after 30 days of infection, and a 44.29% increase in survival rate during an acute challenge. The above findings show that intranasal inoculation with rTgUPase provoked mucosal, humoral and cellular immune responses and indicate that rTgUPase might serve as a promising vaccine candidate for protecting against toxoplasmosis.
    Keywords:  Intranasal immunisation; Mucosal vaccine; Recombination protein; Toxoplasma gondii; Uridine phosphorylase
  4. Expert Opin Drug Discov. 2023 Nov 03. 1-13
      INTRODUCTION: Toxoplasmosis constitutes a challenge for public health, animal production and welfare. Since more than 60 years, only a limited panel of drugs has been in use for clinical applications.AREAS COVERED: Herein, the authors describe the methodology and the results of library screening approaches to identify inhibitors of Toxoplasma gondii and related strains. The authors then provide the reader with their expert perspectives for the future.
    EXPERT OPINION: Various library screening projects, in particular those using reporter strains, have led to the identification of numerous compounds with good efficacy and specificity in vitro. However, only few compounds are effective in suitable animal models such as rodents. Whereas no novel compound has cleared the hurdle to applications in humans, the few compounds with known indication and application profiles in human patients are of interest for further investigations. Taken together, drug repurposing as well as high-throughput screening of novel compound libraries may shorten the way to novel drugs against toxoplasmosis.
    Keywords:  Apicomplexa; drug development; host–parasite interactions; reporter strains; repurposing
  5. mBio. 2023 Oct 31. e0233223
      Genes required for the lysosomal degradation pathway of autophagy play key roles in topologically distinct and physiologically important cellular processes. Some functions of ATG genes are independent of their role in degradative autophagy. One of the first described of these ATG gene-dependent, but degradative autophagy independent, processes is the requirement for a subset of ATG genes in interferon-γ (IFNγ)-induced inhibition of norovirus and Toxoplasma gondii replication. Herein, we identified additional genes that are required for, or that negatively regulate, this innate immune effector pathway. Enzymes in the UFMylation pathway negatively regulated IFNγ-induced inhibition of norovirus replication via effects of Ern1. IFNγ-induced inhibition of norovirus replication required Gate-16 (also termed GabarapL2), Wipi2b, Atg9a, Cul3, and Klhl9 but not Becn1 (encoding Beclin 1), Atg14, Uvrag, or Sqstm1. The phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate and ATG16L1-binding domains of WIPI2B, as well as the ATG5-binding domain of ATG16L1, were required for IFNγ-induced inhibition of norovirus replication. Other members of the Cul3, Atg8, and Wipi2 gene families were not required, demonstrating exquisite specificity within these gene families for participation in IFNγ action. The generality of some aspects of this mechanism was demonstrated by a role for GATE-16 and WIPI2 in IFNγ-induced control of Toxoplasma gondii infection in human cells. These studies further delineate the genes and mechanisms of an ATG gene-dependent programmable form of cytokine-induced innate intracellular immunity. IMPORTANCE Interferon-γ (IFNγ) is a critical mediator of cell-intrinsic immunity to intracellular pathogens. Understanding the complex cellular mechanisms supporting robust interferon-γ-induced host defenses could aid in developing new therapeutics to treat infections. Here, we examined the impact of autophagy genes in the interferon-γ-induced host response. We demonstrate that genes within the autophagy pathway including Wipi2, Atg9, and Gate-16, as well as ubiquitin ligase complex genes Cul3 and Klhl9 are required for IFNγ-induced inhibition of murine norovirus (norovirus hereinafter) replication in mouse cells. WIPI2 and GATE-16 were also required for IFNγ-mediated restriction of parasite growth within the Toxoplasma gondii parasitophorous vacuole in human cells. Furthermore, we found that perturbation of UFMylation pathway components led to more robust IFNγ-induced inhibition of norovirus via regulation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Enhancing or inhibiting these dynamic cellular components could serve as a strategy to control intracellular pathogens and maintain an effective immune response.
    Keywords:  Toxoplasmsa gondii; UFMylation; autophagy; interferons; norovirus
  6. J Wildl Dis. 2023 Nov 01.
      Toxoplasma gondii is a coccidian parasite able to infect all warm-blooded animals and humans. Rodents are one of the most important intermediate hosts for T. gondii, but little is known about infection in beavers and its clinical relevance. Toxoplasmosis was not considered an important waterborne disease until recently, but with increased outbreaks in humans and animals this perspective has changed. Serum samples from 247 Eurasian beavers (Castor fiber) collected from 2002 to 2022 were tested for antibodies to T. gondii by a commercial ELISA. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 113 (45.8%) beavers. Higher weight and proximity to urban areas were found to be significant predictors for seropositivity. Additionally, T. gondii DNA was detected in 23/41 brain tissue samples by real-time PCR. Histopathologic examination of brain sections revealed inflammatory changes in 26/40 beavers, mainly characterized by encephalitis, meningitis, choroid plexitis, or a combination of them. In six of these cases the lesions were in direct association with parasitic stages. With an adapted nested PCR multilocus sequence typing and in silico restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis approach, three different T. gondii genotypes were detected in brain samples: the clonal Type II strain (ToxoDB 1), a Type II variant (ToxoDB 3), and a novel genotype exhibiting both Type II and I alleles in a further animal. Toxoplasma gondii infections in beavers have epidemiologic and clinical significance. The high seroprevalence indicates frequent contact with the parasite, and as competent intermediate hosts they may play an important role, contributing to maintaining the life cycle of T. gondii in semiaquatic habitats. In addition, although most beavers appear to develop subclinical to chronic disease courses, acute and fatal outcomes, mainly characterized by encephalitis and generalized infection, do also occur.
    Keywords:  ELISA; encephalitis; genotyping; toxoplasmosis
  7. Eur J Pharmacol. 2023 Oct 30. pii: S0014-2999(23)00669-6. [Epub ahead of print] 176155
      Sirtuins (SIRTs) were originally characterized by yeast Sir2 as a lifespan regulator that is conserved in all three structural domains of bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes and belong to histone deacetylases consisting of seven members (SIRT1-SIRT7). Surprisingly, SIRTs have been shown to play important regulatory roles in almost all cellular functions, including mitochondrial biogenesis, oxidative stress, inflammation, cell growth, energy metabolism, neural function, and stress resistance. Among the SIRT members, sirtuin 3 (SIRT3) is one of the most important deacetylases that regulates the mitochondrial acetylation and plays a role in pathological processes, such as metabolism, DNA repair, oxidative stress, apoptosis and ferroptosis. Therefore, SIRT3 is considered as a potential target for the treatment of a variety of pathological diseases, including metabolic diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, age-related diseases and others. Furthermore, the isolation, screening, and development of SIRT3 signaling agonists, especially from natural products, have become a widely investigated objective. This paper describes the structure of SIRT3 protein, discusses the pathological process of SIRT3-mediated acetylation modification, and reviews the role of SIRT3 in diseases, SIRT3 activators and its related disease studies.
    Keywords:  Acetylation modification; Activators; Diseases; Pathological process; Sirtuin 3 (SIRT3)
  8. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2023 Nov 01. 80(11): 344
      During macroautophagy, the Atg8 protein is conjugated to phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) in autophagic membranes. In Apicomplexan parasites, two cysteine proteases, Atg4 and ovarian tumor unit (Otu), have been identified to delipidate Atg8 to release this protein from membranes. Here, we investigated the role of cysteine proteases in Atg8 conjugation and deconjugation and found that the Plasmodium parasite consists of both activities. We successfully disrupted the genes individually; however, simultaneously, they were refractory to deletion and essential for parasite survival. Mutants lacking Atg4 and Otu showed normal blood and mosquito stage development. All mice infected with Otu KO sporozoites became patent; however, Atg4 KO sporozoites either failed to establish blood infection or showed delayed patency. Through in vitro and in vivo analysis, we found that Atg4 KO sporozoites invade and normally develop into early liver stages. However, nuclear and organelle differentiation was severely hampered during late stages and failed to mature into hepatic merozoites. We found a higher level of Atg8 in Atg4 KO parasites, and the deconjugation of Atg8 was hampered. We confirmed Otu localization on the apicoplast; however, parasites lacking Otu showed no visible developmental defects. Our data suggest that Atg4 is the primary deconjugating enzyme and that Otu cannot replace its function completely because it cleaves the peptide bond at the N-terminal side of glycine, thereby irreversibly inactivating Atg8 during its recycling. These findings highlight a role for the Atg8 deconjugation pathway in organelle biogenesis and maintenance of the homeostatic cellular balance.
    Keywords:  ATG4; Apicoplast; Autophagy; Cysteine protease; Deconjugation; EEF; Malaria; Otu; Plasmodium; Sporozoites
  9. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2023 Nov 02. 17(11): e0011731
      Trypanosoma cruzi is a protist parasite that is the causative agent of Chagas disease, a neglected tropical disease endemic to the Americas. T. cruzi cells are highly polarized and undergo morphological changes as they cycle within their insect and mammalian hosts. Work on related trypanosomatids has described cell division mechanisms in several life-cycle stages and identified a set of essential morphogenic proteins that serve as markers for key events during trypanosomatid division. Here, we use Cas9-based tagging of morphogenic genes, live-cell imaging, and expansion microscopy to study the cell division mechanism of the insect-resident epimastigote form of T. cruzi, which represents an understudied trypanosomatid morphotype. We find that T. cruzi epimastigote cell division is highly asymmetric, producing one daughter cell that is significantly smaller than the other. Daughter cell division rates differ by 4.9 h, which may be a consequence of this size disparity. Many of the morphogenic proteins identified in T. brucei have altered localization patterns in T. cruzi epimastigotes, which may reflect fundamental differences in the cell division mechanism of this life cycle stage, which widens and shortens the cell body to accommodate the duplicated organelles and cleavage furrow rather than elongating the cell body along the long axis of the cell, as is the case in life-cycle stages that have been studied in T. brucei. This work provides a foundation for further investigations of T. cruzi cell division and shows that subtle differences in trypanosomatid cell morphology can alter how these parasites divide.
  10. Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2023 Oct 19. 28(10): 250
      Aging and related diseases significantly affect the health and happiness index around the world. Cellular senescence is the basis of physiological aging and is closely related to various senile diseases. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is associated with both the regulation of cellular energy metabolism and the regulation of cellular senescence. Another set of proteins, sirtuins, has also been demonstrated to play an important role in cell senescence. However, it is not clear how AMPK and sirtuins coordinate to regulate cellular senescence. Herein, we summarized the role of AMPK and sirtuins in regulating metabolism, repairing DNA damage, and even prolonging human life. We have provided a detailed explanation of the clinical trials relating to the AMPK and sirtuins involved in aging. Systematically analyzing individual senescence genes and developing functional reference notes will aid in understanding the potential mechanisms underlying aging and identify therapeutic targets for both anti-aging interventions and age-related illnesses.
    Keywords:  AMPK; aging; mTOR; senescence; sirtuins
  11. Elife. 2023 Oct 30. pii: RP87419. [Epub ahead of print]12
      Accumulating evidence indicates that acetate is increased under energy stress conditions such as those that occur in diabetes mellitus and prolonged starvation. However, how and where acetate is produced and the nature of its biological significance are largely unknown. We observed overproduction of acetate to concentrations comparable to those of ketone bodies in patients and mice with diabetes or starvation. Mechanistically, ACOT12 and ACOT8 are dramatically upregulated in the liver to convert free fatty acid-derived acetyl-CoA to acetate and CoA. This conversion not only provides a large amount of acetate, which preferentially fuels the brain rather than muscle, but also recycles CoA, which is required for sustained fatty acid oxidation and ketogenesis. We suggest that acetate is an emerging novel 'ketone body' that may be used as a parameter to evaluate the progression of energy stress.
    Keywords:  ACOT12; ACOT8; acetate; biochemistry; cell biology; chemical biology; diabetes mellitus; human; mouse
  12. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2023 Oct 26. pii: S1369-5274(23)00120-0. [Epub ahead of print]76 102383
      The cell division cycle of T. gondii is driven by cyclically expressed ApiAP2 transcription factors (AP2s) that promote gene sets (regulons) associated with specific biological functions. AP2s drive other AP2s, thereby propelling the progressive gene expression waves defining the lytic cycle. AP2s can act as dimers by themselves, in combination with other AP2s (constitutive or cyclical) or in complexes with epigenetic factors. Exit from the cell cycle into either the extracellular state or differentiation into bradyzoites results in major changes in gene expression. Surprisingly, both transitions lead to expression of a shared set of unique AP2s that suggest a shared stress response that, governed by the specific conditions, leads to different outcomes.
  13. Ecol Evol. 2023 Nov;13(11): e10655
      Anthropogenic stressors are exacerbating the emergence and spread of pathogens worldwide. In regions like the Arctic, where ecosystems are particularly susceptible, marked changes are predicted in regional diversity, intensity, and patterns of infectious diseases. To understand such rapidly changing host-pathogen dynamics and mitigate the impacts of novel pathogens, we need sensitive disease surveillance tools. We developed and validated a novel multiplexed, magnetic capture, and ddPCR tool for the surveillance of multiple pathogens in polar bears, a sentinel species that is considered susceptible to climate change and other stressors with a pan-Arctic distribution. Through sequence-specific magnetic capture, we concentrated five target template sequences from three zoonotic bacteria (Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, Francisella tularensis, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex) and two parasitic (Toxoplasma gondii and Trichinella spp.) pathogens from large quantities (<100 g) of host tissue. We then designed and validated two multiplexed probe-based ddPCR assays for the amplification and detection of the low-concentration target DNA. Validations used 48 polar bear tissues (muscle and liver). We detected 14, 1, 3, 4, and 22 tissue positives for E. rhusiopathiae, F. tularensis, M. tuberculosis complex, T. gondii, and Trichinella spp., respectively. These multiplexed assays offer a rapid, specific tool for quantifying and monitoring the changing geographical and host distributions of pathogens relevant to human and animal health.
    Keywords:  Ursus maritimus; digital PCR; disease surveillance; multiplex; zoonotic
  14. Transl Psychiatry. 2023 Nov 01. 13(1): 338
      The potentiation of synaptic plasticity and serotonin generation by brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (TPH2) is well characterized to facilitate rapid and long-lasting antidepressant actions. Therefore, the identification of the key protein that simultaneously controls both BDNF and TPH2 is important for the treatment of depression. We show here that a lack of acetyl-CoA synthetase short-chain family member 2 (ACSS2) causes impairments in BDNF-dependent synaptic plasticity and tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (TPH2)-mediated serotonin generation, thereby contributing to spontaneous and chronic restraint stress (CRS)-induced depressive-like behavior in mice. Conversely, D-mannose is identified as a rapid ACSS2 inducer and thus mediates rapid and long-lasting antidepressant-like effects. Mechanistically, acute and chronic D-mannose administration inhibits the phosphorylation of EF2 to increase BDNF levels and reverse the reduction of TPH2 histone acetylation and transcription. We reveal that ACSS2 promotes TPH2 histone acetylation and transcription with the requirement of AMPK activation. To elevate nuclear ACSS2 levels, D-mannose can rapidly and persistently activate AMPK via Ca2+-CAMKK2 and the lysosomal AXIN-LKB1 pathway to facilitate its fast-acting and persistent antidepressant responses. Taken together, the results presented here reveal that ACSS2 functions as a novel target to link rapid and persistent antidepressant actions and further suggest that D-mannose is a potential therapeutic agent to resist depression through its augmentation of the ACSS2 dependent BDNF and TPH2 pathways.
  15. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2023 Nov 06.
      Background: We analyzed the seroepidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii infection in women of reproductive age in Chiapas, Mexico. Materials and Methods: One hundred seven women (mean age 25.3 years; range: 13-42 years) were enrolled in a public hospital. The presence of immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies to T. gondii in serum samples of participants was determined by an enzyme immunoassay. Bivariate and logistic regression analyses were used to determine the association between characteristics of women and seropositivity to T. gondii. Results: Of the 107 women surveyed, 49 (45.8%) were positive for anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies. T. gondii infection was positively associated with cats at home (odds ratio [OR] = 3.85; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.21-12.20; p = 0.02), and negatively associated with eating out of home (OR = 0.29; 95% CI: 0.11-0.80; p = 0.01). Conclusions: This is the highest T. gondii exposure rate in women of reproductive age reported in Mexico.
    Keywords:  Mexico; Toxoplasma; epidemiology; risk factors; seroprevalence; women
  16. Curr Genet. 2023 Nov 01.
      Peroxisomes play important roles in fungal physiological processes. The RING-finger complex consists of peroxins Pex2, Pex10, and Pex12 and is essential for recycling of receptors responsible for peroxisomal targeting of matrix proteins. In this study, these three peroxins were functionally characterized in the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana (Bb). These three peroxins are associated with peroxisomes, in which BbPex2 interacted with BbPex10 and BbPex12. Ablation of these peroxins did not completely block the peroxisome biogenesis, but abolish peroxisomal targeting of matrix proteins via both PTS1 and PTS2 pathways. Three disruptants displayed different phenotypic defects in growth on nutrients and under stress conditions, but have similar defects in acetyl-CoA biosynthesis, development, and virulence. Strikingly, BbPex10 played a less important role in fungal growth on tested nutrients than other two peroxins; whereas, BbPex2 performed a less important contribution to fungal growth under stresses. This investigation reinforces the peroxisomal roles in the lifecycle of entomopathogenic fungi and highlights the unequal functions of different peroxins in peroxisomal biology.
    Keywords:  Development; Entomopathogenic fungus; Receptor recycling; Stress tolerance; Virulence
  17. mSystems. 2023 Nov 02. e0051023
      The ability to modulate host cell cycle progression is a requirement of many human viruses in order to facilitate their replication and propagation. Nuclear-replicating DNA viruses frequently stall the host cell cycle in G1 to avoid competition with host DNA replication. Among these viruses is human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a prevalent beta-herpesvirus. Here, we discover a pro-viral mechanism that employs the deacetylase activity of the human enzyme sirtuin 2 (SIRT2) for HCMV-mediated cell cycle dysregulation. First, we show that the SIRT2 deacetylase activity supports an early stage of HCMV replication. Focusing on these early infection time points, we next define temporal SIRT2 protein interactions and deacetylation substrates by using mass spectrometry-based interactome and acetylome analyses. We find that SIRT2 interacts with and modulates the acetylation level of cell cycle proteins during infection, including the cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2). Using flow cytometry, cell sorting, and functional assays, we demonstrate that SIRT2 regulates CDK2 K6 acetylation and the G1- to S-phase transition in a manner that supports HCMV replication. Altogether, our findings expand the understanding of mechanisms underlying HCMV-induced cell cycle dysregulation and point toward regulatory feedback between SIRT2 and CDK2 that can have implications in other viral infections and human diseases.IMPORTANCEThis study expands the growing understanding that protein acetylation is a highly regulated molecular toggle of protein function in both host anti-viral defense and viral replication. We describe a pro-viral role for the human enzyme SIRT2, showing that its deacetylase activity supports HCMV replication. By integrating quantitative proteomics, flow cytometry cell cycle assays, microscopy, and functional virology assays, we investigate the temporality of SIRT2 functions and substrates. We identify a pro-viral role for the SIRT2 deacetylase activity via regulation of CDK2 K6 acetylation and the G1-S cell cycle transition. These findings highlight a link between viral infection, protein acetylation, and cell cycle progression.
    Keywords:  acetylation; acetylome; mass spectrometry; protein-protein interactions; proteomics; sirtuin 2
  18. Front Immunol. 2023 ;14 1243480
      Introduction: Toxoplasma gondii is the etiologic agent of toxoplasmosis, a disease that affects about one-third of the human population. Most infected individuals are asymptomatic, but severe cases can occur such as in congenital transmission, which can be aggravated in individuals infected with other pathogens, such as HIV-positive pregnant women. However, it is unknown whether infection by other pathogens, such as Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiologic agent of Chagas disease, as well as one of its proteins, P21, could aggravate T. gondii infection.Methods: In this sense, we aimed to investigate the impact of T. cruzi and recombinant P21 (rP21) on T. gondii infection in BeWo cells and human placental explants.
    Results: Our results showed that T. cruzi infection, as well as rP21, increases invasion and decreases intracellular proliferation of T. gondii in BeWo cells. The increase in invasion promoted by rP21 is dependent on its binding to CXCR4 and the actin cytoskeleton polymerization, while the decrease in proliferation is due to an arrest in the S/M phase in the parasite cell cycle, as well as interleukin (IL)-6 upregulation and IL-8 downmodulation. On the other hand, in human placental villi, rP21 can either increase or decrease T. gondii proliferation, whereas T. cruzi infection increases T. gondii proliferation. This increase can be explained by the induction of an anti-inflammatory environment through an increase in IL-4 and a decrease in IL-6, IL-8, macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α production.
    Discussion: In conclusion, in situations of coinfection, the presence of T. cruzi may favor the congenital transmission of T. gondii, highlighting the importance of neonatal screening for both diseases, as well as the importance of studies with P21 as a future therapeutic target for the treatment of Chagas disease, since it can also favor T. gondii infection.
    Keywords:  P21 protein; Toxoplasma gondii; Trypanosoma cruzi; coinfection; congenital toxoplasmosis; maternal-fetal interface
  19. Nat Rev Cancer. 2023 Oct 31.
      Metabolic reprogramming is central to malignant transformation and cancer cell growth. How tumours use nutrients and the relative rates of reprogrammed pathways are areas of intense investigation. Tumour metabolism is determined by a complex and incompletely defined combination of factors intrinsic and extrinsic to cancer cells. This complexity increases the value of assessing cancer metabolism in disease-relevant microenvironments, including in patients with cancer. Stable-isotope tracing is an informative, versatile method for probing tumour metabolism in vivo. It has been used extensively in preclinical models of cancer and, with increasing frequency, in patients with cancer. In this Review, we describe approaches for using in vivo isotope tracing to define fuel preferences and pathway engagement in tumours, along with some of the principles that have emerged from this work. Stable-isotope infusions reported so far have revealed that in humans, tumours use a diverse set of nutrients to supply central metabolic pathways, including the tricarboxylic acid cycle and amino acid synthesis. Emerging data suggest that some activities detected by stable-isotope tracing correlate with poor clinical outcomes and may drive cancer progression. We also discuss current challenges in isotope tracing, including comparisons of in vivo and in vitro models, and opportunities for future discovery in tumour metabolism.
  20. Life Sci Alliance. 2024 Jan;pii: e202302140. [Epub ahead of print]7(1):
      Circadian rhythms are essential physiological feature for most living organisms. Previous studies have shown that epigenetic regulation plays a crucial role. There is a knowledge gap in the chromatin state of some key clock neuron clusters. In this study, we show that circadian rhythm is affected by the epigenetic regulator Polycomb (Pc) within the Drosophila clock neurons. To investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying the roles of Pc in these clock neuron clusters, we use targeted DamID (TaDa) to identify genes significantly bound by Pc in the neurons marked by C929-Gal4 (including l-LNvs cluster), R6-Gal4 (including s-LNvs cluster), R18H11-Gal4 (including DN1 cluster), and DVpdf-Gal4, pdf-Gal80 (including LNds cluster). It shows that Pc binds to the genes involved in the circadian rhythm pathways, arguing a direct role for Pc in regulating circadian rhythms through specific clock genes. This study shows the identification of Pc targets in the clock neuron clusters, providing potential resource for understanding the regulatory mechanisms of circadian rhythms by the PcG complex. Thus, this study provided an example for epigenetic regulation of adult behavior.
  21. Toxicol Res (Camb). 2023 Oct;12(5): 922-929
      Long-term or high-dose glucocorticoid use can lead to serious orthopedic complications, including femoral head necrosis. Both basic and clinical studies have shown that high doses dexamethasone (Dex) can directly induce osteoblasts death. This study investigated the mechanism underlying Dex induced osteoblast death. In this study, we showed that Dex induces osteoblast necroptosis, rather than apoptosis, through the inhibition of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity. We also demonstrated that inactivation of AMPK-mediated necroptosis is through receptor-interacting protein kinase 3 (RIP3), but not RIP1. Furthermore, we found that Dex-induced necroptosis is dependent on mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) following with directly activation of RIP1 and inactivation of AMPK. These findings provide new insights into the mechanism of Dex-induced osteoblast death and may have implications for the development of new therapies for osteoporosis and other bone-related diseases.
    Keywords:  AMPK; dexamethasone; mitochondrial ROS; necroptosis; osteoblasts death
  22. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2023 ;14 1266081
      The hypothalamic type 2 corticotropin releasing hormone receptor (CRH-R2) plays critical roles in homeostatic regulation, particularly in fine tuning stress recovery. During acute stress, the CRH-R2 ligands CRH and urocortins promote adaptive responses and feeding inhibition. However, in rodent models of chronic stress, over-exposure of hypothalamic CRH-R2 to its cognate agonists is associated with urocortin 2 (Ucn2) resistance; attenuated cAMP-response element binding protein (CREB) phosphorylation and increased food intake. The molecular mechanisms involved in these altered CRH-R2 signalling responses are not well described. In the present study, we used the adult mouse hypothalamus-derived cell line mHypoA-2/30 to investigate CRH-R2 signalling characteristics focusing on gene expression of molecules involved in feeding and circadian regulation given the role of clock genes in metabolic control. We identified functional CRH-R2 receptors expressed in mHypoA-2/30 cells that differentially regulate CREB and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation and downstream expression of the appetite-regulatory genes proopiomelanocortin (Pomc) and neuropeptide Y (Npy) in accordance with an anorexigenic effect. We studied for the first time the effects of Ucn2 on clock genes in native and in a circadian bioluminescence reporter expressing mHypoA-2/30 cells, detecting enhancing effects of Ucn2 on mRNA levels and rhythm amplitude of the circadian regulator Aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator-like protein 1 (Bmal1), which could facilitate anorexic responses in the activity circadian phase. These data uncover novel aspects of CRH-R2 hypothalamic signalling that might be important in regulation of circadian feeding during stress responses.
    Keywords:  AMPK; CREB; CRH-R2; Feeding; circadian rhythm; hypothalamic peptides; urocortin 2 (UCN2)
  23. Food Chem. 2023 Oct 20. pii: S0308-8146(23)02402-0. [Epub ahead of print]437(Pt 1): 137784
      AMPK is a key player in a variety of metabolic and physiological processes, which might be considered one of the most promising targets for both prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome and its associated diseases. Many dietary components and contaminants have been recently demonstrated to prevent or promote the development these diseases via AMPK-mediated pathways. AMPK can be activated by diverse phytochemical substances such as EGCG, chicoric acid, tomatidine, and others, all of which have been found to contribute to preventing or ameliorating chronic disorders. On the other hand, recent studies have found that metabolic disruptions induced by pesticides such as 1,3-Dichloro-2-propanol, imidacloprid, permethrin, are attributed to the inactivation of AMPK. This review may contribute to the development of functional foods for treatment of metabolic syndrome and associated diseases through modulating AMPK pathway.
    Keywords:  5′-AMP-activated protein kinase; Dietary bioactive components; Food contaminants; Metabolic disorders
  24. Biochem J. 2023 Oct 31. 480(20): 1693-1717
      As cell signaling research has advanced, it has become clearer that signal transduction has complex spatiotemporal regulation that goes beyond foundational linear transduction models. Several technologies have enabled these discoveries, including fluorescent biosensors designed to report live biochemical signaling events. As genetically encoded and live-cell compatible tools, fluorescent biosensors are well suited to address diverse cell signaling questions across different spatial scales of regulation. In this review, methods of examining spatial signaling regulation and the design of fluorescent biosensors are introduced. Then, recent biosensor developments that illuminate the importance of spatial regulation in cell signaling are highlighted at several scales, including membranes and organelles, molecular assemblies, and cell/tissue heterogeneity. In closing, perspectives on how fluorescent biosensors will continue enhancing cell signaling research are discussed.
    Keywords:  cellular localization; fluorescent biosensors; intracellular signaling; kinases; organelles
  25. Rinsho Ketsueki. 2023 ;64(10): 1275-1279
      A 16-year-old boy received an unrelated bone marrow transplant while in second remission of acute myeloid leukemia. He suffered from severe oral mucosal complications and had difficulty taking oral drugs such as sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim (ST). Engraftment was obtained on transplant day 35, and blurred vision and headache appeared around transplant day 60. Funduscopy revealed retinal hemorrhage and macular edema, and an MRI scan of the head revealed a nodular lesion in the left putamen. Toxoplasma gondii was detected by CSF PCR, and cerebral toxoplasmosis was diagnosed. Following therapy with ST and clindamycin, the patient was administered pyrimethamine, sulfadiazine, and leucovorin. Symptoms improved promptly, and CSF PCR was negative 45 days after the start of treatment. Since the prevalence of toxoplasma antibodies increases with age, it is crucial to avoid toxoplasma reactivation by ST after hematopoietic cell transplantation in postpubescent patients.
    Keywords:  Acute myeloid leukemia; Cerebral toxoplasmosis; Toxoplasma gondii; Unrelated bone marrow transplantation
  26. Biophys J. 2023 Oct 31. pii: S0006-3495(23)00669-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      In this work we investigate how spatial proximity of enzymes belonging to the same pathway (metabolon) affects metabolic flux. Using off-lattice Langevin Dynamics (LD) simulations in tandem with a stochastic reaction-diffusion protocol and a semi-analytical reaction-diffusion model, we systematically explored how strength of protein-protein interactions, catalytic efficiency and protein-ligand interactions affect metabolic flux through the metabolon. Formation of a metabolon leads to a greater speed up for longer pathways and especially for reaction-limited enzymes while for fully optimized diffusion-limited enzymes the effect is negligible. Notably, specific cluster architectures are not a prerequisite for enhancing reaction flux. Simulations uncover the crucial role of optimal non-specific protein-ligand interactions in enhancing catalytic efficiency of a metabolon. Our theory implies and bioinformatics analysis confirms that longer catalytic pathways are enriched in less optimal enzymes while most diffusion-limited enzymes populate shorter pathways. Our findings point towards a plausible evolutionary strategy where enzymes compensate for less-than-optimal efficiency by increasing their local concentration in the clustered state.