bims-toxgon Biomed News
on Toxoplasma gondii metabolism
Issue of 2024‒02‒11
seven papers selected by
Lakesh Kumar, BITS Pilani

  1. Trends Parasitol. 2024 Feb 03. pii: S1471-4922(24)00009-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Antunes et al. successfully grew cat-restricted stages of Toxoplasma gondii in cell culture by targeting parasite epigenetics and transcription factors. The highlight of this report is how efficiently parasites convert to these pre-sexual stages. Their work is an important step toward achieving feline-free recapitulation of the T. gondii sexual cycle.
    Keywords:  ApiAP2; Toxoplasma gondii; life stage transition; merozoite
  2. Brain Behav Immun Health. 2024 Mar;36 100728
      Brain infection by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii is thought to impair learning and memory, although the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. Recent studies suggest that perineuronal nets (PNNs) and their key regulator, matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), have essential roles in synaptic plasticity associated with learning and memory. We investigated their roles in a chronic toxoplasmosis model using female mice. In mice with a high parasite burden of chronic infection, we found that MMP-9 expression was increased in the peripheral circulation and the brain. A correlation was found between the serum levels of MMP-9 and antibodies to the Toxoplasma matrix antigen MAG1, a surrogate marker for Toxoplasma tissue cysts in the brain. MMP-9 elevation was accompanied by increased expression of its endogenous regulators, TIMP-1 and NGAL. An increase in the levels of GSK-3α/β was observed, alongside a decrease in inhibitory GSK-3α/β (Ser-21/Ser-9) phosphorylation. MMP-9 expression was notably associated with the loss of PNNs but increased expression of the synaptic vesicle protein synaptophysin. There was a trend toward a negative correlation between MMP-9 and aggrecan expression, a critical PNN component. Together, these results suggest that chronic Toxoplasma infection can cause an increase in MMP-9 expression, resulting in the degradation of PNNs, which provides a possible mechanism for Toxoplasma-associated deficits in learning and memory.
    Keywords:  Learning and memory; MMP-9; Perineuronal nets; Synaptic plasticity; Toxoplasma gondii; Toxoplasma matrix antigen MAG1
  3. Vaccine. 2024 Feb 02. pii: S0264-410X(24)00062-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is one of the most common pathogenic protozoa in the world, and causes toxoplasmosis, which in varying degrees causes significant economic losses and poses a serious public health challenge globally. To date, the development of an effective vaccine for human toxoplasmosis remains a challenge. Given that T.gondii calcium-dependent protein kinase 3 (CDPK3), dense granule protein 35 (GRA35) and rhoptry organelle protein 46 (ROP46) play key roles during Toxoplasma gondii invasion of host cells, we developed a protein vaccine cocktail including these proteins and validated its protective efficacy. The specific protective effects of vaccine on mice were analyzed by measuring serum antibodies, cytokines, splenocyte proliferation, the percentage of CD4+ and CD8+ T-lymphocytes, survival rate, and parasite cyst burden. The results showed that mice vaccinated with a three-protein cocktail produced the highest levels of immune protein antibodies to IgG, and high levels of IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-4, and IL-10 compared to other mice vaccinated with two proteins. In addition, CD4+ and CD8+ T cell percentages were significantly elevated. Compared to the control groups, mice vaccinated with the three-protein cocktail survived significantly longer after acute infection with T. gondii and had significantly fewer cysts after chronic infection. These results demonstrated that a cocktail vaccine of TgCDPK3, TgGRA35, and TgROP46 can effectively induce cellular and humoral immune responses with good protective effects in mice, indicating its potential as vaccine candidates for toxoplasmosis.
    Keywords:  Cocktail vaccine; Protective efficacy; TgCDPK3; TgGRA35; TgROP46; Toxoplasma gondii
  4. Redox Rep. 2024 Dec;29(1): 2312320
      Burns and burn sepsis, characterized by persistent and profound hypercatabolism, cause energy metabolism dysfunction that worsens organ injury and systemic disorders. Glutamine (Gln) is a key nutrient that remarkably replenishes energy metabolism in burn and sepsis patients, but its exact roles beyond substrate supply is unclear. In this study, we demonstrated that Gln alleviated liver injury by sustaining energy supply and restoring redox balance. Meanwhile, Gln also rescued the dysfunctional mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) complexes, improved ATP production, reduced oxidative stress, and protected hepatocytes from burn sepsis injury. Mechanistically, we revealed that Gln could activate SIRT4 by upregulating its protein synthesis and increasing the level of Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a co-enzyme that sustains the activity of SIRT4. This, in turn, reduced the acetylation of shock protein (HSP) 60 to facilitate the assembly of the HSP60-HSP10 complex, which maintains the activity of ETC complex II and III and thus sustain ATP generation and reduce reactive oxygen species release. Overall, our study uncovers a previously unknown pharmacological mechanism involving the regulation of HSP60-HSP10 assembly by which Gln recovers mitochondrial complex activity, sustains cellular energy metabolism and exerts a hepato-protective role in burn sepsis.
    Keywords:  Glutamine; HSP60-HSP10 assembly; Sirtuin 4; burn sepsis; energy metabolism; liver injury; mitochondrial electron transport chain; reactive oxygen species
  5. Cell Death Differ. 2024 Feb 08.
      The appropriate transcriptional activity of PPARγ is indispensable for controlling inflammation, tumor and obesity. Therefore, the identification of key switch that couples PPARγ activation with degradation to sustain its activity homeostasis is extremely important. Unexpectedly, we here show that acetyl-CoA synthetase short-chain family member 2 (ACSS2) critically controls PPARγ activity homeostasis via SIRT1 to enhance adipose plasticity via promoting white adipose tissues beiging and brown adipose tissues thermogenesis. Mechanistically, ACSS2 binds directly acetylated PPARγ in the presence of ligand and recruits SIRT1 and PRDM16 to activate UCP1 expression. In turn, SIRT1 triggers ACSS2 translocation from deacetylated PPARγ to P300 and thereafter induces PPARγ polyubiquitination and degradation. Interestingly, D-mannose rapidly activates ACSS2-PPARγ-UCP1 axis to resist high fat diet induced obesity in mice. We thus reveal a novel ACSS2 function in coupling PPARγ activation with degradation via SIRT1 and suggest D-mannose as a novel adipose plasticity regulator via ACSS2 to prevent obesity.
  6. Cancer Res. 2024 Feb 08.
      Over the past decade, studies have increasingly shed light on a reciprocal relationship between cellular metabolism and cell fate, meaning that a cell's lineage both drives and is governed by its specific metabolic features. A recent study by Zhang and colleagues, published in Cell Metabolism, describes a novel metabolic-epigenetic regulatory axis that governs lineage identity in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Among the key findings, the authors demonstrate that the metabolic enzyme pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) directly binds to the histone methyltransferase enhancer of zeste homologue 2 (EZH2) in the nucleus to silence expression of a set of genes that includes the mitochondrial carnitine transporter SLC16A9. Perturbation of this metabolic-epigenetic regulatory mechanism induces a metabolic shift away from glycolysis and towards fatty acid oxidation. The ensuing influx of carnitine facilitates the deposition of the activating epigenetic mark H3K27Ac onto the promoter of GATA3, driving a committed luminal lineage state. Importantly, this metabolic-epigenetic axis represents a potentially targetable vulnerability for the treatment of TNBC, a subtype that currently lacks effective therapeutic strategies. These findings lend further support for the paradigm shift underlying our understanding of cancer metabolism: that a cellular fuel source functions not only to provide energy but also to direct the epigenetic regulation of cell fate.
  7. Cell Rep. 2024 Feb 07. pii: S2211-1247(24)00074-3. [Epub ahead of print]43(2): 113746
      Lactic acid has emerged as an important modulator of immune cell function. It can be produced by both gut microbiota and the host metabolism at homeostasis and during disease states. The production of lactic acid in the gut microenvironment is vital for tissue homeostasis. In the present study, we examined how lactic acid integrates cellular metabolism to shape the epigenome of macrophages during pro-inflammatory response. We found that lactic acid serves as a primary fuel source to promote histone H3K27 acetylation, which allows the expression of immunosuppressive gene program including Nr4a1. Consequently, macrophage pro-inflammatory function was transcriptionally repressed. Furthermore, the histone acetylation induced by lactic acid promotes a form of long-term immunosuppression ("trained immunosuppression"). Pre-exposure to lactic acid induces lipopolysaccharide tolerance. These findings thus indicate that lactic acid sensing and its effect on chromatin remodeling in macrophages represent a key homeostatic mechanism that can provide a tolerogenic tissue microenvironment.
    Keywords:  CP: Immunology; CP: Metabolism; epigenetic reprogramming; histone acetylation; immunosuppression; inflammation; inflammatory bowel disease; lactic acid; macrophage; metabolism; metabolite sensing; tissue microenvironment