The publication data currently available has been vetted by Vanderbilt faculty, staff, administrators and trainees. The data itself is retrieved directly from NCBI's PubMed and is automatically updated on a weekly basis to ensure accuracy and completeness.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.
Translocases of mitochondrial inner membrane (TIMs) are multiprotein complexes. The only Tim component so far characterized in kinetoplastid parasites such as Trypanosoma brucei is Tim17 (TbTim17), which is essential for cell survival and mitochondrial protein import. Here, we report that TbTim17 is present in a protein complex of about 1,100 kDa, which is much larger than the TIM complexes found in fungi and mammals. Depletion of TbTim17 in T. brucei impairs the mitochondrial import of cytochrome oxidase subunit IV, an N-terminal signal-containing protein. Pretreatment of isolated mitoplasts with the anti-TbTim17 antibody inhibited import of cytochrome oxidase subunit IV, indicating a direct involvement of the TbTim17 in the import process. Purification of the TbTim17-containing protein complex from the mitochondrial membrane of T. brucei by tandem affinity chromatography revealed that TbTim17 associates with seven unique as well as a few known T. brucei mitochondrial proteins. Depletion of three of these novel proteins, i.e. TbTim47, TbTim54, and TbTim62, significantly decreased mitochondrial protein import in vitro. In vivo targeting of a newly synthesized mitochondrial matrix protein, MRP2, was also inhibited due to depletion of TbTim17, TbTim54, and TbTim62. Co-precipitation analysis confirmed the interaction of TbTim54 and TbTim62 with TbTim17 in vivo. Overall, our data reveal that TbTim17, the single homolog of Tim17/22/23 family proteins, is present in a unique TIM complex consisting of novel proteins in T. brucei and is critical for mitochondrial protein import.
Trypanosoma brucei is the protozoan parasite that causes African trypanosomiasis, a neglected disease of people and animals. Co-metabolite analysis, labelling studies using [methyl-2H3]-methionine and substrate/product specificities of the cloned 24-SMT (sterol C24-methyltransferase) and 14-SDM (sterol C14demethylase) from T. brucei afforded an uncommon sterol metabolic network that proceeds from lanosterol and 31-norlanosterol to ETO [ergosta-5,7,25(27)-trien-3β-ol], 24-DTO [dimethyl ergosta-5,7,25(27)-trienol] and ergosterol [ergosta-5,7,22(23)-trienol]. To assess the possible carbon sources of ergosterol biosynthesis, specifically 13C-labelled specimens of lanosterol, acetate, leucine and glucose were administered to T. brucei and the 13C distributions found were in accord with the operation of the acetate-mevalonate pathway, with leucine as an alternative precursor, to ergostenols in either the insect or bloodstream form. In searching for metabolic signatures of procyclic cells, we observed that the 13C-labelling treatments induce fluctuations between the acetyl-CoA (mitochondrial) and sterol (cytosolic) synthetic pathways detected by the progressive increase in 13C-ergosterol production (control<[2-(13)C]leucine<[2-(13)C]acetate<[1-(13)C]glucose) and corresponding depletion of cholesta-5,7,24-trienol. We conclude that anabolic fluxes originating in mitochondrial metabolism constitute a flexible part of sterol synthesis that is further fluctuated in the cytosol, yielding distinct sterol profiles in relation to cell demands on growth.
Sterol 14α-demethylase (CYP51) that catalyzes the removal of the 14α-methyl group from the sterol nucleus is an essential enzyme in sterol biosynthesis, a primary target for clinical and agricultural antifungal azoles and an emerging target for antitrypanosomal chemotherapy. Here, we present the crystal structure of Trypanosoma (T) brucei CYP51 in complex with the substrate analog 14α-methylenecyclopropyl-Δ7-24,25-dihydrolanosterol (MCP). This sterol binds tightly to all protozoan CYP51s and acts as a competitive inhibitor of F105-containing (plant-like) T. brucei and Leishmania (L) infantum orthologs, but it has a much stronger, mechanism-based inhibitory effect on I105-containing (animal/fungi-like) T. cruzi CYP51. Depicting substrate orientation in the conserved CYP51 binding cavity, the complex specifies the roles of the contact amino acid residues and sheds new light on CYP51 substrate specificity. It also provides an explanation for the effect of MCP on T. cruzi CYP51. Comparison with the ligand-free and azole-bound structures supports the notion of structural rigidity as the characteristic feature of the CYP51 substrate binding cavity, confirming the enzyme as an excellent candidate for structure-directed design of new drugs, including mechanism-based substrate analog inhibitors.
Leishmaniasis is a major health problem that affects populations of ∼90 countries worldwide, with no vaccine and only a few moderately effective drugs. Here we report the structure/function characterization of sterol 14α-demethylase (CYP51) from Leishmania infantum. The enzyme catalyzes removal of the 14α-methyl group from sterol precursors. The reaction is essential for membrane biogenesis and therefore has great potential to become a target for antileishmanial chemotherapy. Although L. infantum CYP51 prefers C4-monomethylated sterol substrates such as C4-norlanosterol and obtusifoliol (V(max) of ∼10 and 8 min(-1), respectively), it is also found to 14α-demethylate C4-dimethylated lanosterol (V(max) = 0.9 min(-1)) and C4-desmethylated 14α-methylzymosterol (V(max) = 1.9 min(-1)). Binding parameters with six sterols were tested, with K(d) values ranging from 0.25 to 1.4 μM. Thus, L. infantum CYP51 is the first example of a plant-like sterol 14α-demethylase, where requirements toward the composition of the C4 atom substituents are not strict, indicative of possible branching in the postsqualene portion of sterol biosynthesis in the parasite. Comparative analysis of three CYP51 substrate binding cavities (Trypanosoma brucei, Trypanosoma cruzi, and L. infantum) suggests that substrate preferences of plant- and fungal-like protozoan CYP51s largely depend on the differences in the enzyme active site topology. These minor structural differences are also likely to underlie CYP51 catalytic rates and drug susceptibility and can be used to design potent and specific inhibitors.
Pathogenic protozoa threaten lives of several hundred million people throughout the world and are responsible for large numbers of deaths globally. The parasites are transmitted to humans by insect vectors, more than a hundred of infected mammalian species forming reservoir. With human migrations, HIV-coinfections, and blood bank contamination the diseases are now spreading beyond the endemic tropical countries, being found in all parts of the world including the USA, Canada and Europe. In spite of the widely appreciated magnitude of this health problem, current treatment for sleeping sickness (Trypanosoma brucei), Chagas disease (Trypanosoma cruzi) and leishmaniasis (Leishmania spp.) remains unsatisfactory. The drugs are decades old, their efficacy and safety profiles are unacceptable. This review describes sterol 14α-demethylase, an essential enzyme in sterol biosynthesis in eukaryotes and clinical target for antifungal azoles, as a promising target for antiprotozoan chemotherapy. While several antifungal azoles have been proven active against Trypanosomatidae and are under consideration as antiprotozoan agents, crystal structures of sterol 14α-demethylases from three protozoan pathogens, Trypanosoma brucei, Trypanosoma cruzi and Leishmania infantum provide the basis for the development of new, highly potent and pathogen-specific drugs with rationally optimized pharmacological properties.
In an effort to discover novel anti-trypanosomal compounds, a series of podophyllotoxin analogues coupled to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) has been synthesized and evaluated for activity versus Trypanosoma brucei and a panel of human cell lines, revealing compounds with low nano-molar potencies. It was discovered that coupling of NSAIDs to podophyllotoxin increased the potencies of both compounds over 1300-fold. The compounds were shown to be cytostatic in nature and seem to act via de-polymerization of tubulin in a manner consistent with the known activities of podophyllotoxin. The potencies against T. brucei correlated directly with LogP values of the compounds, suggesting that the conjugates are acting as hydrophobic tags allowing podophyllotoxin to enter the cell.
Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Sterol 14alpha-demethylase (14DM, the CYP51 family of cytochrome P450) is an essential enzyme in sterol biosynthesis in eukaryotes. It serves as a major drug target for fungal diseases and can potentially become a target for treatment of human infections with protozoa. Here we present 1.9 A resolution crystal structures of 14DM from the protozoan pathogen Trypanosoma brucei, ligand-free and complexed with a strong chemically selected inhibitor N-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-2-(1H-imidazol-1-yl)ethyl)-4-(5-phenyl-1,3,4-oxadi-azol-2-yl)benzamide that we previously found to produce potent antiparasitic effects in Trypanosomatidae. This is the first structure of a eukaryotic microsomal 14DM that acts on sterol biosynthesis, and it differs profoundly from that of the water-soluble CYP51 family member from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, both in organization of the active site cavity and in the substrate access channel location. Inhibitor binding does not cause large scale conformational rearrangements, yet induces unanticipated local alterations in the active site, including formation of a hydrogen bond network that connects, via the inhibitor amide group fragment, two remote functionally essential protein segments and alters the heme environment. The inhibitor binding mode provides a possible explanation for both its functionally irreversible effect on the enzyme activity and its selectivity toward the 14DM from human pathogens versus the human 14DM ortholog. The structures shed new light on 14DM functional conservation and open an excellent opportunity for directed design of novel antiparasitic drugs.
Sterol 14alpha-demethylases (CYP51) serve as primary targets for antifungal drugs, and specific inhibition of CYP51s in protozoan parasites Trypanosoma brucei (TB) and Trypanosoma cruzi (TC) might provide an effective treatment strategy for human trypanosomiases. Primary inhibitor selection is based initially on the cytochrome P450 spectral response to ligand binding. Ligands that demonstrate strongest binding parameters were examined as inhibitors of reconstituted TB and TC CYP51 activity in vitro. Direct correlation between potency of the compounds as CYP51 inhibitors and their antiparasitic effect in TB and TC cells implies essential requirements for endogenous sterol production in both trypanosomes and suggests a lead structure with a defined region most promising for further modifications. The approach developed here can be used for further large-scale search for new CYP51 inhibitors.
Sterol methyltransferase (SMT) plays a key role in sterol biosynthesis in different pathogenic organisms by setting the pattern of the side chain structure of the final product. This catalyst, absent in humans, provides critical pathway-specific enzymatic steps in the production of ergosterol in fungi or phytosterols in plants. The new SMT gene was isolated from Trypanosoma brucei genomic DNA and cloned into an Escherichia coli expression system. The recombinant SMT was purified to homogeneity to give a band at 40.0 kDa upon SDS-PAGE and showed a tetrameric subunit organization by gel chromatography. It has a pH optimum of 7.5, an apparent kcat value of 0.01 s(-1), and a Km of 47 +/- 4 microm for zymosterol. The products of the reaction were a mixture of C24-monoalkylated sterols, ergosta-8,24 (25)-dienol, ergosta-8,25 (27)-dienol, and ergosta-8,24 (28)-dienol (fecosterol), and an unusual double C24-alkylated sterol, 24,24-dimethyl ergosta-8,25 (27)-dienol, typically found in plants. Inhibitory profile studies with 25-azalanosterol (Ki value of 39 nm) or 24(R,S), 25-epiminolanosterol (Ki value of 49 nm), ergosterol (Ki value of 27 microm) and 26,27-dehydrozymosterol (Ki and kinact values of 29 microm and 0.26 min(-1), respectively) and data showing zymosterol as the preferred acceptor strongly suggest that the protozoan SMT has an active site topography combining properties of the SMT1 from plants and yeast (37-47% identity). The enzymatic activation of this and other SMTs reveals that the catalytic requirements for the C-methyl reaction are remarkably versatile, whereas the inhibition studies provide a powerful approach to rational design of new anti-sleeping sickness chemotherapeutic drugs.
The parasitic protozoan Leishmania specifically manipulates the expression of host macrophage genes during initial interactions, as revealed by mRNA differential display reverse transcription-PCR and cDNA microarray analyses. The genes that are down-regulated in mouse (J774G8) or human (U937) macrophages upon exposure to Leishmania include small RNA transcripts from the short interspersed element sequences. Among the short interspersed element RNAs that are down-regulated is 7SL RNA, which is the RNA component of the signal recognition particle. Because the microbicidal functions of macrophages profoundly count on vesicular protein transport processes, down-regulation of 7SL RNA may be significant in the establishment of infection by Leishmania in macrophage phagolysosomes. To evaluate whether down-regulation of 7SL RNA results in inhibition of signal recognition particle-mediated vesicular protein transport processes, we have tested and found that the targeting of proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum and plasma membrane and the secretion of proteins by macrophages are compromised in Leishmania-infected J774G8 and U937 cells. Knocking down 7SL RNA using small interfering RNA mimicked the effect of exposure of macrophages to Leishmania. The overexpression of 7SL RNA in J774G8 or U937 cells made these cells resistant to Leishmania infection, suggesting the possible biological significance of down-regulation of 7SL RNA synthesis in the establishment of infection by Leishmania. We conclude that Leishmania down-regulates 7SL RNA in macrophages to manipulate the targeting of many proteins that use the vesicular transport pathway and thus favors its successful establishment of infection in macrophages.