bims-toxgon Biomed News
on Toxoplasma gondii metabolism
Issue of 2024‒01‒28
seven papers selected by
Lakesh Kumar, BITS Pilani

  1. Elife. 2024 Jan 25. pii: e94201. [Epub ahead of print]13
      Apicomplexans are ubiquitous intracellular parasites of animals. These parasites use a programmed sequence of secretory events to find, invade, and then reengineer their host cells to enable parasite growth and proliferation. The secretory organelles micronemes and rhoptries mediate the first steps of invasion. Both secrete their contents through the apical complex which provides an apical opening in the parasite's elaborate inner membrane complex (IMC) - an extensive subpellicular system of flattened membrane cisternae and proteinaceous meshwork that otherwise limits access of the cytoplasm to the plasma membrane for material exchange with the cell exterior. After invasion, a second secretion programme drives host cell remodelling and occurs from dense granules. The site(s) of dense granule exocytosis, however, has been unknown. In Toxoplasma gondii, small subapical annular structures that are embedded in the IMC have been observed, but the role or significance of these apical annuli to plasma membrane function has also been unknown. Here, we determined that integral membrane proteins of the plasma membrane occur specifically at these apical annular sites, that these proteins include SNARE proteins, and that the apical annuli are sites of vesicle fusion and exocytosis. Specifically, we show that dense granules require these structures for the secretion of their cargo proteins. When secretion is perturbed at the apical annuli, parasite growth is strongly impaired. The apical annuli, therefore, represent a second type of IMC-embedded structure to the apical complex that is specialised for protein secretion, and reveal that in Toxoplasma there is a physical separation of the processes of pre- and post-invasion secretion that mediate host-parasite interactions.
    Keywords:  cell biology
  2. Pathogens. 2023 Dec 29. pii: 33. [Epub ahead of print]13(1):
      Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan parasite with the ability to infect various warm-blooded vertebrates, including humans, is the causative agent of toxoplasmosis. This infection poses significant risks, leading to severe complications in immunocompromised individuals and potentially affecting the fetus through congenital transmission. A comprehensive understanding of the intricate molecular interactions between T. gondii and its host is pivotal for the development of effective therapeutic strategies. This review emphasizes the crucial role of proteomics in T. gondii research, with a specific focus on host-parasite interactions, post-translational modifications (PTMs), PTM crosstalk, and ongoing efforts in drug discovery. Additionally, we provide an overview of recent advancements in proteomics techniques, encompassing interactome sample preparation methods such as BioID (BirA*-mediated proximity-dependent biotin identification), APEX (ascorbate peroxidase-mediated proximity labeling), and Y2H (yeast two hybrid), as well as various proteomics approaches, including single-cell analysis, DIA (data-independent acquisition), targeted, top-down, and plasma proteomics. Furthermore, we discuss bioinformatics and the integration of proteomics with other omics technologies, highlighting its potential in unraveling the intricate mechanisms of T. gondii pathogenesis and identifying novel therapeutic targets.
    Keywords:  PTMs; Toxoplasma gondii; drug discovery; host–parasite interactions; proteomics
  3. Nat Commun. 2024 Jan 26. 15(1): 793
      Sexual development in Toxoplasma gondii is a multistep process that culminates in the production of oocysts, constituting approximately 50% of human infections. However, the molecular mechanisms governing sexual commitment in this parasite remain poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that the transcription factors AP2XI-2 and AP2XII-1 act as negative regulators, suppressing merozoite-primed pre-sexual commitment during asexual development. Depletion of AP2XI-2 in type II Pru strain induces merogony and production of mature merozoites in an alkaline medium but not in a neutral medium. In contrast, AP2XII-1-depleted Pru strain undergoes several rounds of merogony and produces merozoites in a neutral medium, with more pronounced effects observed under alkaline conditions. Additionally, we identified two additional AP2XI-2-interacting proteins involved in repressing merozoite programming. These findings underscore the intricate regulation of pre-sexual commitment by a network of factors and suggest that AP2XI-2 or AP2XII-1-depleted Pru parasites can serve as a model for studying merogony in vitro.
  4. Vaccines (Basel). 2024 Jan 19. pii: 101. [Epub ahead of print]12(1):
      Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is an obligate intracellular protozoan that can elicit a robust immune response during infection. Macrophage cells have been shown to play an important role in the immune response against T. gondii. In our previous study, the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5A (eIF-5A) gene of T. gondii was found to influence the invasion and replication of tachyzoites. In this study, the recombinant protein of T. gondii eIF-5A (rTgeIF-5A) was incubated with murine macrophages, and the regulatory effect of TgeIF-5A on macrophages was characterized. Immunofluorescence assay showed that TgeIF-5A was able to bind to macrophages and partially be internalized. The Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) level and chemotaxis of macrophages stimulated with TgeIF-5A were reduced. However, the phagocytosis and apoptosis of macrophages were amplified by TgeIF-5A. Meanwhile, the cell viability experiment indicated that TgeIF-5A can promote the viability of macrophages, and in the secretion assays, TgeIF-5A can induce the secretion of interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and nitric oxide (NO) from macrophages. These findings demonstrate that eIF-5A of T. gondii can modulate the immune response of murine macrophages in vitro, which may provide a reference for further research on developing T. gondii vaccines.
    Keywords:  Toxoplasma gondii; eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5A; immune response; in vitro; macrophages
  5. bioRxiv. 2024 Jan 01. pii: 2023.12.31.573774. [Epub ahead of print]
      Acetyl-coenzyme A is a central metabolite that participates in many cellular pathways. Evidence suggests that acetyl-CoA production and consumption are highly compartmentalized in mammalian cells. Yet methods to measure acetyl-CoA in living cells are lacking. In this work, we engineer an acetyl-CoA biosensor from the bacterial protein PanZ and circularly permuted green fluorescent protein (cpGFP). We biochemically characterize the sensor and demonstrate its selectivity for acetyl-CoA over other CoA species. We then deploy the biosensor in E. coli and HeLa cells to demonstrate its utility in living cells. In E. coli , we show that the biosensor enables detection of rapid changes in acetyl-CoA levels. In human cells, we show that the biosensor enables subcellular detection and reveals the compartmentalization of acetyl-CoA metabolism.
  6. Int J Food Microbiol. 2024 Jan 19. pii: S0168-1605(24)00029-1. [Epub ahead of print]413 110585
      Acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC), which catalyzes acetyl-CoA to produce malonyl-CoA, is crucial for the synthesis of mycotoxins, ergosterol, and fatty acids in various genera. However, its biofunction in Aspergillus flavus has not been reported. In this study, the accA gene was deleted and site-mutated to explore the influence of ACC on sporulation, sclerotium formation, and aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) biosynthesis. The results revealed that ACC positively regulated conidiation and sclerotium formation, but negatively regulated AFB1 production. In addition, we found that ACC is a succinylated protein, and mutation of lysine at position 990 of ACC to glutamic acid or arginine (accAK990E or accAK990R) changed the succinylation level of ACC. The accAK990E and accAK990R mutations (to imitate the succinylation and desuccinylation at K990 of ACC, respectively) downregulated fungal conidiation and sclerotium formation while increasing AFB1 production, revealing that the K990 is an important site for ACC's biofunction. These results provide valuable perspectives for future mechanism studies of the emerging roles of succinylated ACC in the regulation of the A. flavus phenotype, which is advantageous for the prevention and control of A. flavus hazards.
    Keywords:  Acetyl-CoA carboxylase; Aflatoxin; Aspergillus flavus; Pathogenicity; Succinylation
  7. Cell Biochem Funct. 2024 Jan;42(1): e3922
      Sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, known as Gliflozins, are a class of Glucose-lowering drugs in adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D) that induce glucosuria by blocking SGLT2 co-transporters in the proximal tubules. Several lines of evidence suggest that SGLT2 inhibitors regulate multiple mechanisms associated with the regulation of varying cellular pathways. The 5'-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway plays an important role in metabolic homeostasis by influencing cellular processes. Recently, it has been shown that SGLT2 inhibitors can affect the AMPK pathway in differing physiological and pathological ways, resulting in kidney, intestinal, cardiovascular, and liver protective effects. Additionally, they have therapeutic effects on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and diabetes mellitus-associated complications. In this review, we summarize the results of studies of AMPK-associated therapeutic effects of SGLT2 inhibitors in different organelle functions.
    Keywords:  AMPK; NAFLD; SGLT2 inhibitors; cardiovascular; diabetes; kidney