bims-toxgon Biomed News
on Toxoplasma gondii metabolism
Issue of 2024‒06‒09
27 papers selected by
Lakesh Kumar, BITS Pilani

  1. Open Biol. 2024 Jun;14(6): 230463
      Succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) is a protein complex that functions in the tricarboxylic acid cycle and the electron transport chain of mitochondria. In most eukaryotes, SDH is highly conserved and comprises the following four subunits: SdhA and SdhB form the catalytic core of the complex, while SdhC and SdhD anchor the complex in the membrane. Toxoplasma gondii is an apicomplexan parasite that infects one-third of humans worldwide. The genome of T. gondii encodes homologues of the catalytic subunits SdhA and SdhB, although the physiological role of the SDH complex in the parasite and the identity of the membrane-anchoring subunits are poorly understood. Here, we show that the SDH complex contributes to optimal proliferation and O2 consumption in the disease-causing tachyzoite stage of the T. gondii life cycle. We characterize a small membrane-bound subunit of the SDH complex called mitochondrial protein ookinete developmental defect (MPODD), which is conserved among myzozoans, a phylogenetic grouping that incorporates apicomplexan parasites and their closest free-living relatives. We demonstrate that TgMPODD is essential for SDH activity and plays a key role in attaching the TgSdhA and TgSdhB proteins to the membrane anchor of the complex. Our findings highlight a unique and important feature of mitochondrial energy metabolism in apicomplexan parasites and their relatives.
    Keywords:  Toxoplasma; apicomplexa; electron transport chain; mitochondria; tricarboxylic acid cycle
  2. bioRxiv. 2024 May 25. pii: 2024.05.25.595886. [Epub ahead of print]
      One of the defining features of apicomplexan parasites is their cytoskeleton composed of alveolar vesicles, known as the inner membrane complex (IMC) undergirded by intermediate-like filament network and an array of subpellicular microtubules (SPMTs). In Toxoplasma gondii , this specialized cytoskeleton is involved in all aspects of the disease-causing lytic cycle, and notably acting as a scaffold for parasite offspring in the internal budding process. Despite advances in our understanding of the architecture and molecular composition, insights pertaining to the coordinated assembly of the scaffold are still largely elusive. Here, T. gondii tachyzoites were dissected by advanced, iterative expansion microscopy (pan-ExM) revealing new insights into the very early sequential formation steps of the tubulin scaffold. A comparative study of the related parasite Sarcocystis neurona revealed that different MT bundling organizations of the nascent SPMTs correlate with the number of central and basal alveolar vesicles. In absence of a so far identified MT nucleation mechanism, we genetically dissected T. gondii γ-tubulin and γ-tubulin complex protein 4 (GCP4). While γ-tubulin depletion abolished the formation of the tubulin scaffold, a set of MTs still formed that suggests SPMTs are nucleated at the outer core of the centrosome. Depletion of GCP4 interfered with the correct assembly of SPMTs into the forming daughter buds, further indicating that the parasite utilizes the γ-tubulin complex in tubulin scaffold formation.
  3. AMB Express. 2024 Jun 06. 14(1): 68
      Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite associated with severe disease, especially in the immunosuppressed. It is also a cause of congenital malformation and abortion in both animals and humans and is considered one of the most important foodborne pathogens worldwide with different strains showing variable distribution and differing pathogenicity. Thus, strain-level differentiation of T. gondii isolates is an essential asset in the understanding of parasite's diversity, geographical distribution, epidemiology and health risk. Here, we designed and implemented an Oxford Nanopore MinION protocol to analyse genomic sequence variation including single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and insertion/deletion polymorphisms (InDel's) of four different genomic loci, part of protein coding genes SAG2, SAG3, ROP17 and ROP21. This method provided results with the sequencing depth necessary for accurate differentiation of T. gondii strains and represents a rapid approach compared to conventional techniques which we further validated against environmental samples isolated from wild wood mice. In summary, multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) of both highly conserved and more polymorphic areas of the genome, provided robust data for strain classification in a platform ready for further adaption for other strains and pathogens.
    Keywords:   Toxoplasma gondii ; Genotyping; Multi-locus sequence typing (MLST); Oxford Nanopore MinION
  4. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2024 ;14 1359888
      Toxoplasma, an important intracellular parasite of humans and animals, causes life-threatening toxoplasmosis in immunocompromised individuals. Although Toxoplasma secretory proteins during acute infection (tachyzoite, which divides rapidly and causes inflammation) have been extensively characterized, those involved in chronic infection (bradyzoite, which divides slowly and is surrounded by a cyst wall) remain uncertain. Regulation of the cyst wall is essential to the parasite life cycle, and polysaccharides, such as chitin, in the cyst wall are necessary to sustain latent infection. Toxoplasma secretory proteins during the bradyzoite stage may have important roles in regulating the cyst wall via polysaccharides. Here, we focused on characterizing the hypothetical T. gondii chitinase, chitinase-like protein 1 (TgCLP1). We found that the chitinase-like domain containing TgCLP1 is partially present in the bradyzoite microneme and confirmed, albeit partially, its previous identification in the tachyzoite microneme. Furthermore, although parasites lacking TgCLP1 could convert from tachyzoites to bradyzoites and make an intact cyst wall, they failed to convert from bradyzoites to tachyzoites, indicating that TgCLP1 is necessary for bradyzoite reactivation. Taken together, our findings deepen our understanding of the molecular basis of recrudescence and could contribute to the development of novel strategies for the control of toxoplasmosis.
    Keywords:  bradyzoite; chitinase; cyst burden; secretory proteins; toxoplasma
  5. J Enzyme Inhib Med Chem. 2024 Dec;39(1): 2346523
      Toxoplasmosis, induced by the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii, holds considerable implications for global health. While treatment options primarily focusing on folate pathway enzymes have notable limitations, current research endeavours concentrate on pinpointing specific metabolic pathways vital for parasite survival. Carbonic anhydrases (CAs, EC have emerged as potential drug targets due to their role in fundamental reactions critical for various protozoan metabolic processes. Within T. gondii, the Carbonic Anhydrase-Related Protein (TgCA_RP) plays a pivotal role in rhoptry biogenesis. Notably, α-CA (TcCA) from another protozoan, Trypanosoma cruzi, exhibited considerable susceptibility to classical CA inhibitors (CAIs) such as anions, sulphonamides, thiols, and hydroxamates. Here, the recombinant DNA technology was employed to synthesise and clone the identified gene in the T. gondii genome, which encodes an α-CA protein (Tg_CA), with the purpose of heterologously overexpressing its corresponding protein. Tg_CA kinetic constants were determined, and its inhibition patterns explored with inorganic metal-complexing compounds, which are relevant for rational compound design. The significance of this study lies in the potential development of innovative therapeutic strategies that disrupt the vital metabolic pathways crucial for T. gondii survival and virulence. This research may lead to the development of targeted treatments, offering new approaches to manage toxoplasmosis.
    Keywords:  Toxoplasmosis; anion inhibitors; carbonic anhydrase; enzyme kinetics
  6. J Parasit Dis. 2024 Jun;48(2): 201-216
      Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is an obligate intracellular apicomplexan protozoan that causes toxoplasmosis. Approximately one-third of the world's population is currently T. gondii-seropositive. Although most infections are symptomless, a few can produce retinal lesions and, in immunocompromised persons or when congenitally contracted, can progress to life-threatening central nervous system disseminated infections. Therefore, quick, and precise diagnosis is a must. Molecular techniques nowadays play a crucial role in toxoplasmosis diagnosis, particularly in immunocompromised patients or congenital toxoplasmosis. This review aimed to detail recent advancements in molecular diagnostics of T. gondii infections. The terms "Toxoplasmosis," "Molecular diagnostics," "PCR," "qPCR," "B1," and "rep529" were used to search the English-language literature. In developed nations, conventional PCR (PCR) and nested PCR have been supplanted by quantitative PCR (qPCR), although they are still widely employed in poor nations. The diagnosis of toxoplasmosis has been revolutionized by the emergence of molecular diagnostics. Unfortunately, there is still substantial interlaboratory variability. There is an immediate need for standardization to increase the comparability of results between laboratories and clinical trials.Graphical abstract: A graphical abstract highlighting the summary of Toxoplasma molecular diagnostics, created using
    Keywords:  B1; Molecular diagnosis; PCR; Rep 529; Toxoplasma gondii; Toxoplasmosis; qPCR
  7. Parasit Vectors. 2024 Jun 04. 17(1): 247
      BACKGROUND: The interplay between Toxoplasma gondii infection and tumor development is intriguing and not yet fully understood. Some studies showed that T. gondii reversed tumor immune suppression, while some reported the opposite, stating that T. gondii infection promoted tumor growth.METHODS: We created three mouse models to investigate the interplay between T. gondii and tumor. Model I aimed to study the effect of tumor growth on T. gondii infection by measuring cyst number and size. Models II and III were used to investigate the effect of different stages of T. gondii infection on tumor development via flow cytometry and bioluminescent imaging. Mouse strains (Kunming, BALB/c, and C57BL/6J) with varying susceptibilities to tumors were used in the study.
    RESULTS: The size and number of brain cysts in the tumor-infected group were significantly higher, indicating that tumor presence promotes T. gondii growth in the brain. Acute T. gondii infection, before or after tumor cell introduction, decreased tumor growth manifested by reduced bioluminescent signal and tumor size and weight. In the tumor microenvironment, CD4+ and CD8+ T cell number, including their subpopulations (cytotoxic CD8+ T cells and Th1 cells) had a time-dependent increase in the group with acute T. gondii infection compared with the group without infection. However, in the peripheral blood, the increase of T cells, including cytotoxic CD8+ T cells and Th1 cells, persisted 25 days after Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) cell injection in the group with acute T. gondii. Chronic T. gondii infection enhanced tumor growth as reflected by increase in tumor size and weight. The LLC group with chronic T. gondii infection exhibited decreased percentages of cytotoxic CD8+ T cells and Th1 cells 25 days post-LLC injection as compared with the LLC group without T. gondii infection. At week 4 post-LLC injection, chronic T. gondii infection increased tumor formation rate [odds ratio (OR) 1.71] in both KM and BALB/c mice.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our research elucidates the dynamics between T. gondii infection and tumorigenesis. Tumor-induced immune suppression promoted T. gondii replication in the brain. Acute and chronic T. gondii infection had opposing effects on tumor development.
    Keywords:   Toxoplasma gondii ; Acute and chronic toxoplasmosis; Lewis lung carcinoma; Mice; Tumor
  8. J Cell Sci. 2024 Jun 01. pii: jcs261857. [Epub ahead of print]137(11):
      Plasmodium sporozoites are the infective forms of the malaria parasite in the mosquito and vertebrate host. Gliding motility allows sporozoites to migrate and invade mosquito salivary glands and mammalian hosts. Motility and invasion are powered by an actin-myosin motor complex linked to the glideosome, which contains glideosome-associated proteins (GAPs), MyoA and the myosin A tail-interacting protein (MTIP). However, the role of several proteins involved in gliding motility remains unknown. We identified that the S14 gene is upregulated in sporozoite from transcriptome data of Plasmodium yoelii and further confirmed its transcription in P. berghei sporozoites using real-time PCR. C-terminal 3×HA-mCherry tagging revealed that S14 is expressed and localized on the inner membrane complex of the sporozoites. We disrupted S14 in P. berghei and demonstrated that it is essential for sporozoite gliding motility, and salivary gland and hepatocyte invasion. The gliding and invasion-deficient S14 knockout sporozoites showed normal expression and organization of inner membrane complex and surface proteins. Taken together, our data show that S14 plays a role in the function of the glideosome and is essential for malaria transmission.
    Keywords:   Plasmodium ; Glideosome; Gliding motility; Inner membrane complex; Invasion; S14; Sporozoite
  9. Nature. 2024 Jun 05.
      Histone acetylation regulates gene expression, cell function and cell fate1. Here we study the pattern of histone acetylation in the epithelial tissue of the Drosophila wing disc. H3K18ac, H4K8ac and total lysine acetylation are increased in the outer rim of the disc. This acetylation pattern is controlled by nuclear position, whereby nuclei continuously move from apical to basal locations within the epithelium and exhibit high levels of H3K18ac when they are in proximity to the tissue surface. These surface nuclei have increased levels of acetyl-CoA synthase, which generates the acetyl-CoA for histone acetylation. The carbon source for histone acetylation in the rim is fatty acid β-oxidation, which is also increased in the rim. Inhibition of fatty acid β-oxidation causes H3K18ac levels to decrease in the genomic proximity of genes involved in disc development. In summary, there is a physical mark of the outer rim of the wing and other imaginal epithelia in Drosophila that affects gene expression.
  10. Placenta. 2024 May 29. pii: S0143-4004(24)00258-3. [Epub ahead of print]154 1-8
      INTRODUCTION: Toxoplasma gondii is an opportunistic intracellular parasite that is a major pathogenic factor in miscarriage, especially when it occurs early in pregnancy. We have previously demonstrated that the regulation of forkhead box transcription factor (Foxp3) is associated with abortion in early pregnancy caused by excretory-secretory antigen (ESA) of strain China 1. We aimed to reveal the underlying mechanism of miscarriage caused by ESA.METHODS: A TLR4-/- pregnant mouse model was successfully constructed. Pregnant mice at gestational day 5 (G5) were injected with ESA. All animals were sacrificed on G13, pregnancy outcomes were observed, and abortion rates were calculated. Placental status observed by Hematoxylin-eosin staining; gene expression was measured by IHC; flow cytometry analysis was used to determine the number and function of regulatory T cells. In EL4 cells, real-time PCR and Western blot were used to evaluate gene expression and cytokines assay.
    RESULTS: In vivo studies revealed that ESA injection caused 83% abortion in pregnant mice but only 35% abortion in TLR4-/- pregnant mice. In addition, ESA attenuated the number and function of regulatory T cells, further suppressed Foxp3, FOXO1 levels, and upregulated CD127 expression. TLR4-/- mice partially reversed this inhibitory effect on regulatory T cells. Furthermore, in vitro studies revealed that ESA inhibited TLR4/NF-κB signaling pathway expression and that TLR4 agonists significantly restored the ESA-induced decrease in Foxp3.
    DISCUSSION: These findings suggest that ESA suppresses Foxp3 expression by blocking TLR4/NF-κB signaling, resulting in miscarriage. More importantly, the results indicated that miscarriage caused by ESA is TLR4 dependent.
    Keywords:  Chinese 1 strain of Toxoplasma gondii; Excreted–secreted antigens; Forkhead box P3; Regulatory T cells; toll‐like receptor 4
  11. Cell Commun Signal. 2024 Jun 03. 22(1): 306
      BACKGROUND: Dysregulation in histone acetylation, a significant epigenetic alteration closely associated with major pathologies including cancer, promotes tumorigenesis, inactivating tumor-suppressor genes and activating oncogenic pathways. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a cellular energy sensor that regulates a multitude of biological processes. Although a number of studies have identified the mechanisms by which AMPK regulates cancer growth, the underlying epigenetic mechanisms remain unknown.METHODS: The impact of metformin, an AMPK activator, on cervical cancer was evaluated through assessments of cell viability, tumor xenograft model, pan-acetylation analysis, and the role of the AMPK-PCAF-H3K9ac signaling pathway. Using label-free quantitative acetylproteomics and chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing (ChIP) technology, the activation of AMPK-induced H3K9 acetylation was further investigated.
    RESULTS: In this study, we found that metformin, acting as an AMPK agonist, activates AMPK, thereby inhibiting the proliferation of cervical cancer both in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, AMPK activation induces H3K9 acetylation at epigenetic level, leading to chromatin remodeling in cervical cancer. This also enhances the binding of H3K9ac to the promoter regions of multiple tumor suppressor genes, thereby promoting their transcriptional activation. Furthermore, the absence of PCAF renders AMPK activation incapable of inducing H3K9 acetylation.
    CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that AMPK mediates the inhibition of cervical cancer growth through PCAF-dependent H3K9 acetylation. This discovery not only facilitates the clinical application of metformin but also underscores the essential role of PCAF in AMPK activation-induced H3K9 hyperacetylation.
    Keywords:  AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK); Cervical cancer; H3K9ac; Histone acetylation; PCAF
  12. FASEB J. 2024 Jun 15. 38(11): e23702
      Pyruvate kinase is a glycolytic enzyme that converts phosphoenolpyruvate and ADP into pyruvate and ATP. There are two genes that encode pyruvate kinase in vertebrates; Pkm and Pkl encode muscle- and liver/erythrocyte-specific forms, respectively. Each gene encodes two isoenzymes due to alternative splicing. Both muscle-specific enzymes, PKM1 and PKM2, function in glycolysis, but PKM2 also has been implicated in gene regulation due to its ability to phosphorylate histone 3 threonine 11 (H3T11) in cancer cells. Here, we examined the roles of PKM1 and PKM2 during myoblast differentiation. RNA-seq analysis revealed that PKM2 promotes the expression of Dpf2/Baf45d and Baf250a/Arid1A. DPF2 and BAF250a are subunits that identify a specific sub-family of the mammalian SWI/SNF (mSWI/SNF) of chromatin remodeling enzymes that is required for the activation of myogenic gene expression during differentiation. PKM2 also mediated the incorporation of DPF2 and BAF250a into the regulatory sequences controlling myogenic gene expression. PKM1 did not affect expression but was required for nuclear localization of DPF2. Additionally, PKM2 was required not only for the incorporation of phosphorylated H3T11 in myogenic promoters but also for the incorporation of phosphorylated H3T6 and H3T45 at myogenic promoters via regulation of AKT and protein kinase C isoforms that phosphorylate those amino acids. Our results identify multiple unique roles for PKM2 and a novel function for PKM1 in gene expression and chromatin regulation during myoblast differentiation.
    Keywords:  H3 phosphorylation; SWI/SNF; chromatin remodeling enzymes; gene regulation; myoblast differentiation; pyruvate kinase
  13. Mol Cell. 2024 Jun 06. pii: S1097-2765(24)00436-2. [Epub ahead of print]84(11): 2011-2013
      In this issue of Molecular Cell, Yi et al.1 demonstrate that reduced mTORC1 activity induces the CTLH E3 ligase-dependent degradation of HMGCS1, an enzyme in the mevalonate pathway, thus revealing a unique connection between mTORC1 signaling and the degradation of a specific metabolic enzyme via the ubiquitin-proteasome system.
  14. J Cell Sci. 2024 Jun 01. pii: jcs261250. [Epub ahead of print]137(11):
      An important mechanism of gene expression regulation is the epigenetic modification of histones. The cofactors and substrates for these modifications are often intermediary metabolites, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the metabolic and nutritional state of cells can influence these marks. These connections between the balance of metabolites, histone modifications and downstream transcriptional changes comprise a metabolic signaling program that can enable cells to adapt to changes in nutrient availability. Beyond acetylation, there is evidence now that histones can be modified by other acyl groups. In this Cell Science at a Glance article and the accompanying poster, we focus on these histone acylation modifications and provide an overview of the players that govern these acylations and their connections with metabolism.
    Keywords:  Acetylation; Acylation; Chromatin; Epigenetics; Histone modification; Metabolism
  15. Front Microbiol. 2024 ;15 1356733
      Nε-lysine acetylation is recognized as a prevalent post-translational modification (PTM) that regulates proteins across all three domains of life. In Bacillus subtilis, the histone-like protein HBsu is acetylated at seven sites, which regulates DNA compaction and the process of sporulation. In Mycobacteria, DNA compaction is a survival strategy in response antibiotic exposure. Acetylation of the HBsu ortholog HupB decondenses the chromosome to escape this drug-induced, non-growing state, and in addition, regulates the formation of drug-tolerant subpopulations by altering gene expression. We hypothesized that the acetylation of HBsu plays similar regulatory roles. First, we measured nucleoid area by fluorescence microscopy and in agreement, we found that wild-type cells compacted their nucleoids upon kanamycin exposure, but not exposure to tetracycline. We analyzed a collection of HBsu mutants that contain lysine substitutions that mimic the acetylated (glutamine) or unacetylated (arginine) forms of the protein. Our findings indicate that some level of acetylation is required at K3 for a proper response and K75 must be deacetylated. Next, we performed time-kill assays of wild-type and mutant strains in the presence of different antibiotics and found that interfering with HBsu acetylation led to faster killing rates. Finally, we examined the persistent subpopulation and found that altering the acetylation status of HBsu led to an increase in persister cell formation. In addition, we found that most of the deacetylation-mimic mutants, which have compacted nucleoids, were delayed in resuming growth following removal of the antibiotic, suggesting that acetylation is required to escape the persistent state. Together, this data adds an additional regulatory role for HBsu acetylation and further supports the existence of a histone-like code in bacteria.
    Keywords:  acetyl; acetylation; antibiotic resistance; bacteria; nucleoid-associated protein; persisters; tolerance
  16. Cell Death Dis. 2024 Jun 04. 15(6): 392
      Keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation in epidermis are well-controlled and essential for reacting to stimuli such as ultraviolet light. Imbalance between proliferation and differentiation is a characteristic feature of major human skin diseases such as psoriasis and squamous cell carcinoma. However, the effect of keratinocyte metabolism on proliferation and differentiation remains largely elusive. We show here that the gluconeogenic enzyme fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase 1 (FBP1) promotes differentiation while inhibits proliferation of keratinocyte and suppresses psoriasis development. FBP1 is identified among the most upregulated genes induced by UVB using transcriptome sequencing and is elevated especially in upper epidermis. Fbp1 heterozygous mice exhibit aberrant epidermis phenotypes with local hyperplasia and dedifferentiation. Loss of FBP1 promotes proliferation and inhibits differentiation of keratinocytes in vitro. Mechanistically, FBP1 loss facilitates glycolysis-mediated acetyl-CoA production, which increases histone H3 acetylation at lysine 9, resulting in enhanced transcription of proliferation genes. We further find that the expression of FBP1 is dramatically reduced in human psoriatic lesions and in skin of mouse imiquimod psoriasis model. Fbp1 deficiency in mice facilitates psoriasis-like skin lesions development through glycolysis and acetyl-CoA production. Collectively, our findings reveal a previously unrecognized role of FBP1 in epidermal homeostasis and provide evidence for FBP1 as a metabolic psoriasis suppressor.
  17. BMC Biol. 2024 Jun 03. 22(1): 130
      BACKGROUND: Hydrogenosomes are a specific type of mitochondria that have adapted for life under anaerobiosis. Limited availability of oxygen has resulted in the loss of the membrane-associated respiratory chain, and consequently in the generation of minimal inner membrane potential (Δψ), and inefficient ATP synthesis via substrate-level phosphorylation. The changes in energy metabolism are directly linked with the organelle biogenesis. In mitochondria, proteins are imported across the outer membrane via the Translocase of the Outer Membrane (TOM complex), while two Translocases of the Inner Membrane, TIM22, and TIM23, facilitate import to the inner membrane and matrix. TIM23-mediated steps are entirely dependent on Δψ and ATP hydrolysis, while TIM22 requires only Δψ. The character of the hydrogenosomal inner membrane translocase and the mechanism of translocation is currently unknown.RESULTS: We report unprecedented modification of TIM in hydrogenosomes of the human parasite Trichomonas vaginalis (TvTIM). We show that the import of the presequence-containing protein into the hydrogenosomal matrix is mediated by the hybrid TIM22-TIM23 complex that includes three highly divergent core components, TvTim22, TvTim23, and TvTim17-like proteins. The hybrid character of the TvTIM is underlined by the presence of both TvTim22 and TvTim17/23, association with small Tim chaperones (Tim9-10), which in mitochondria are known to facilitate the transfer of substrates to the TIM22 complex, and the coupling with TIM23-specific ATP-dependent presequence translocase-associated motor (PAM). Interactome reconstruction based on co-immunoprecipitation (coIP) and mass spectrometry revealed that hybrid TvTIM is formed with the compositional variations of paralogs. Single-particle electron microscopy for the 132-kDa purified TvTIM revealed the presence of a single ring of small Tims complex, while mitochondrial TIM22 complex bears twin small Tims hexamer. TvTIM is currently the only TIM visualized outside of Opisthokonta, which raised the question of which form is prevailing across eukaryotes. The tight association of the hybrid TvTIM with ADP/ATP carriers (AAC) suggests that AAC may directly supply ATP for the protein import since ATP synthesis is limited in hydrogenosomes.
    CONCLUSIONS: The hybrid TvTIM in hydrogenosomes represents an original structural solution that evolved for protein import when Δψ is negligible and remarkable example of evolutionary adaptation to an anaerobic lifestyle.
    Keywords:   Trichomonas vaginalis ; Hydrogenosomes; Mitochondria; Parasite; Presequence translocase-associated motor; Protein import machinery; TIM22 complex; TIM23 complex
  18. Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2024 Jun 04. 1-11
      INTRODUCTION: Histone deacetylases (HDACs) catalyze the removal of acetyl groups from lysine residues of histones and other proteins, generally leading to a closed chromosomal configuration and transcriptional repression. Different HDACs have distinct substrate specificities and functions in different biological processes. Accumulating evidence indicates that HDACs play a key role in the pathogenesis of multiple respiratory diseases.AREAS COVERED: After an extensive search of the PubMed database, Web of Science and, covering the period from 1992 to 2024, this review summarizes recent advances in understanding the role of HDACs in inflammatory respiratory diseases, including allergic rhinitis (AR), chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We also examine recent progress on the efficacy and potential use of histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) for the treatment of these diseases.
    EXPERT OPINION: Available data indicate that HDACs play an important role in the development of common inflammatory respiratory diseases, and HDACi have shown promise as treatments for these diseases. However, the exact roles and underlying mechanisms of specific HDACs in disease pathogenesis require further study. Additional work is necessary to develop novel potent HDACi with high isoform selectivity.
    Keywords:  Allergic rhinitis; asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; chronic rhinosinusitis; histone deacetylase inhibitors; histone deacetylases
  19. Metab Eng. 2024 May 31. pii: S1096-7176(24)00073-9. [Epub ahead of print]84 34-47
      Understanding diverse bacterial nutritional requirements and responses is foundational in microbial research and biotechnology. In this study, we employed knowledge-enriched transcriptomic analytics to decipher complex stress responses of Vibrio natriegens to supplied nutrients, aiming to enhance microbial engineering efforts. We computed 64 independently modulated gene sets that comprise a quantitative basis for transcriptome dynamics across a comprehensive transcriptomics dataset containing a broad array of nutrient conditions. Our approach led to the i) identification of novel transporter systems for diverse substrates, ii) a detailed understanding of how trace elements affect metabolism and growth, and iii) extensive characterization of nutrient-induced stress responses, including osmotic stress, low glycolytic flux, proteostasis, and altered protein expression. By clarifying the relationship between the acetate-associated regulon and glycolytic flux status of various nutrients, we have showcased its vital role in directing optimal carbon source selection. Our findings offer deep insights into the transcriptional landscape of bacterial nutrition and underscore its significance in tailoring strain engineering strategies, thereby facilitating the development of more efficient and robust microbial systems for biotechnological applications.
    Keywords:  Independent component analysis; Machine learning; Nutritional response; Systems biology; Vibrio natriegens; iModulon
  20. Nat Microbiol. 2024 Jun 06.
      Nutritional status and pyroptosis are important for host defence against infections. However, the molecular link that integrates nutrient sensing into pyroptosis during microbial infection is unclear. Here, using metabolic profiling, we found that Yersinia pseudotuberculosis infection results in a significant decrease in intracellular glucose levels in macrophages. This leads to activation of the glucose and energy sensor AMPK, which phosphorylates the essential kinase RIPK1 at S321 during caspase-8-mediated pyroptosis. This phosphorylation inhibits RIPK1 activation and thereby restrains pyroptosis. Boosting the AMPK-RIPK1 cascade by glucose deprivation, AMPK agonists, or RIPK1-S321E knockin suppresses pyroptosis, leading to increased susceptibility to Y. pseudotuberculosis infection in mice. Ablation of AMPK in macrophages or glucose supplementation in mice is protective against infection. Thus, we reveal a molecular link between glucose sensing and pyroptosis, and unveil a mechanism by which Y. pseudotuberculosis reduces glucose levels to impact host AMPK activation and limit host pyroptosis to facilitate infection.
  21. bioRxiv. 2024 May 21. pii: 2024.05.21.595030. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cysteine is a reactive amino acid central to the catalytic activities of many enzymes. It is also a common target of post-translational modifications (PTMs), such as palmitoylation. This long-chain acyl PTM can modify cysteine residues and induce changes in protein subcellular localization. We hypothesized that cysteine could also be modified by short-chain acyl groups, such as cysteine S -acetylation. To test this, we developed sample preparation and non-targeted mass spectrometry protocols to analyze the mouse liver proteome for cysteine acetylation. Our findings revealed hundreds of sites of cysteine acetylation across multiple tissue types, revealing a previously uncharacterized cysteine acetylome. Cysteine acetylation shows a marked cytoplasmic subcellular localization signature, with tissue-specific acetylome patterns and specific changes upon metabolic stress. This study uncovers a novel aspect of cysteine biochemistry, highlighting short-chain modifications alongside known long-chain acyl PTMs. These findings enrich our understanding of the landscape of acyl modifications and suggest new research directions in enzyme activity regulation and cellular signaling in metabolism.
  22. Cell Rep. 2024 Jun 04. pii: S2211-1247(24)00601-6. [Epub ahead of print]43(6): 114273
      Phosphoinositides (PtdIns) are a family of differentially phosphorylated lipid second messengers localized to the cytoplasmic leaflet of both plasma and intracellular membranes. Kinases and phosphatases can selectively modify the PtdIns composition of different cellular compartments, leading to the recruitment of specific binding proteins, which control cellular homeostasis and proliferation. Thus, while PtdIns affect cell growth and survival during interphase, they are also emerging as key drivers in multiple temporally defined membrane remodeling events of mitosis, like cell rounding, spindle orientation, cytokinesis, and abscission. In this review, we summarize and discuss what is known about PtdIns function during mitosis and how alterations in the production and removal of PtdIns can interfere with proper cell division.
    Keywords:  CP: Cell biology
  23. Cell Biosci. 2024 Jun 01. 14(1): 68
      BACKGROUND: Mammalian or mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is an effective therapeutic target for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, aging, and neurodegeneration. However, an efficient tool for monitoring mTORC1 inhibition in living cells or tissues is lacking.RESULTS: We developed a genetically encoded mTORC1 sensor called TORSEL. This sensor changes its fluorescence pattern from diffuse to punctate when 4EBP1 dephosphorylation occurs and interacts with eIF4E. TORSEL can specifically sense the physiological, pharmacological, and genetic inhibition of mTORC1 signaling in living cells and tissues. Importantly, TORSEL is a valuable tool for imaging-based visual screening of mTORC1 inhibitors. Using TORSEL, we identified histone deacetylase inhibitors that selectively block nutrient-sensing signaling to inhibit mTORC1.
    CONCLUSIONS: TORSEL is a unique living cell sensor that efficiently detects the inhibition of mTORC1 activity, and histone deacetylase inhibitors such as panobinostat target mTORC1 signaling through amino acid sensing.
    Keywords:  Amino acid sensing; HDAC inhibitor; Live-cell sensor; Panobinostat; mTORC1
  24. J Med Chem. 2024 Jun 07.
      The NAD+-dependent lysine deacylase sirtuin 2 (Sirt2) is involved in multiple pathological conditions such as cancer. Targeting Sirt2 has thus received an increased interest for therapeutic purposes. Furthermore, the orthologue from Schistosoma mansoni (SmSirt2) has been considered for the potential treatment of the neglected tropical disease schistosomiasis. We previously identified a 1,2,4-oxadiazole-based scaffold from the screening of the "Kinetobox" library as a dual inhibitor of human Sirt2 (hSirt2) and SmSirt2. Herein, we describe the structure-activity studies on 1,2,4-oxadiazole-based analogues, which are potent inhibitors of human Sirt2 deacetylation. As proposed by docking studies, a substrate-competitive and cofactor-noncompetitive binding mode of inhibition could be determined in vitro via binding assays and kinetic analysis and further confirmed by a crystal structure of an oxadiazole inhibitor in complex with hSirt2. Optimized analogues reduced cell viability and inhibited prostate cancer cell migration, in correlation with Sirt2 deacetylase inhibition both in vitro and in cells.
  25. Biochemistry (Mosc). 2024 Apr;89(4): 674-687
      Chromatin is an epigenetic platform for implementation of DNA-dependent processes. Nucleosome, as a basic level of chromatin compaction, largely determines its properties and structure. In the study of nucleosomes structure and functions physicochemical tools are actively used, such as magnetic and optical "tweezers", "DNA curtains", nuclear magnetic resonance, X-ray crystallography, and cryogenic electron microscopy, as well as optical methods based on Förster resonance energy transfer. Despite the fact that these approaches make it possible to determine a wide range of structural and functional characteristics of chromatin and nucleosomes with high spatial and time resolution, atomic force microscopy (AFM) complements the capabilities of these methods. The results of structural studies of nucleosome focusing on the AFM method development are presented in this review. The possibilities of AFM are considered in the context of application of other physicochemical approaches.
    Keywords:  AFM; chromatin; nucleosome; single-molecule methods for studying biomolecules
  26. bioRxiv. 2024 May 21. pii: 2024.05.21.595204. [Epub ahead of print]
      Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor protein modification in Plasmodium species is well known and represents the principal form of glycosylation in these organisms. The structure and biosynthesis of GPI anchors of Plasmodium spp. has been primarily studied in the asexual blood stage of P. falciparum and is known to contain the typical conserved GPI structure of EtN-P-Man3GlcN-PI. Here, we have investigated the circumsporozoite protein (CSP) for the presence of a GPI-anchor. CSP is the major surface protein of Plasmodium sporozoites, the infective stage of the malaria parasite. While it is widely assumed that CSP is a GPI-anchored cell surface protein, compelling biochemical evidence for this supposition is absent. Here, we employed metabolic labeling and mass-spectrometry based approaches to confirm the presence of a GPI anchor in CSP. Biosynthetic radiolabeling of CSP with [ 3 H]-palmitic acid and [ 3 H]-ethanolamine, with the former being base-labile and therefore ester-linked, provided strong evidence for the presence of a GPI anchor on CSP, but these data alone were not definitive. To provide further evidence, immunoprecipitated CSP was analyzed for presence of myo -inositol (a characteristic component of GPI anchor) using strong acid hydrolysis and GC-MS for a highly sensitive and quantitative detection. The single ion monitoring (SIM) method for GC-MS analysis confirmed the presence of the myo -inositol component in CSP. Taken together, these data provide confidence that the long-assumed presence of a GPI anchor on this important parasite protein is correct.