Journal Article A Novel Method for Inducing Amastigote-To-Trypomastigote Transformation In Vitro in Trypanosoma cruzi Reveals the Importance of Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate Receptor

Hashimoto, Muneaki  ,  Morales, Jorge  ,  Uemura, Haruki  ,  Mikoshiba, Katsuhiko  ,  Nara, Takeshi

10 ( 8 )  , p.e0135726 , 2015-08-12 , Public Library of Science
Background Trypanosoma cruzi is a parasitic protist that causes Chagas disease, which is prevalent in Latin America. Because of the unavailability of an effective drug or vaccine, and because about 8 million people are infected with the parasite worldwide, the development of novel drugs demands urgent attention. T. cruzi infects a wide variety of mammalian nucleated cells, with a preference for myocardial cells. Non-dividing trypomastigotes in the bloodstream infect host cells where they are transformed into replication-capable amastigotes. The amastigotes revert to trypomastigotes (trypomastigogenesis) before being shed out of the host cells. Although trypomastigote transformation is an essential process for the parasite, the molecular mechanisms underlying this process have not yet been clarified, mainly because of the lack of an assay system to induce trypomastigogenesis in vitro. Methodology/Principal Findings Cultivation of amastigotes in a transformation medium composed of 80% RPMI-1640 and 20% Grace's Insect Medium mediated their transformation into trypomastigotes. Grace's Insect Medium alone also induced trypomastigogenesis. Furthermore, trypomastigogenesis was induced more efficiently in the presence of fetal bovine serum. Trypomastigotes derived from in vitro trypomastigogenesis were able to infect mammalian host cells as efficiently as tissue-culture-derived trypomastigotes (TCT) and expressed a marker protein for TCT. Using this assay system, we demonstrated that T. cruzi inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (TcIP3R) - an intracellular Ca2+ channel and a key molecule involved in Ca2+ signaling in the parasite - is important for the transformation process. Conclusion/Significance Our findings provide a new tool to identify the molecular mechanisms of the amastigote-totrypomastigote transformation, leading to a new strategy for drug development against Chagas disease.

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