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Functional genomics in sand fly–derived Leishmania promastigotes

AuthorsAlcolea, Pedro J. ; Alonso, Ana ; Molina, Ricardo; Jiménez, Maribel; Myler, P. J.; Larraga, Vicente
Issue Date9-May-2019
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS Negl Trop Dis 13(5):e0007288 (2019)
AbstractBACKGROUND:Leishmania development in the sand fly gut leads to highly infective forms called metacyclic promastigotes. This process can be routinely mimicked in culture. Gene expression-profiling studies by transcriptome analysis have been performed with the aim of studying promastigote forms in the sand fly gut, as well as differences between sand fly-and culture-derived promastigotes.
FINDINGS:Transcriptome analysis has revealed the crucial role of the microenvironment in parasite development within the sand fly gut because substantial differences and moderate correlation between the transcriptomes of cultured and sand fly-derived promastigotes have been found. Sand fly-derived metacyclics are more infective than metacyclics in culture. Therefore, some caution should be exercised when using cultured promastigotes, depending on the experimental design. The most remarkable examples are the hydrophilic acidic surface protein/small endoplasmic reticulum protein (HASP/SHERP) cluster, the glycoprotein 63 (gp63), and autophagy genes, which are up-regulated in sand fly-derived promastigotes compared with cultured promastigotes. Because HASP/SHERP genes are up-regulated in nectomonad and metacyclic promastigotes in the sand fly, the encoded proteins are not metacyclic specific. Metacyclic promastigotes are distinguished by morphology and high infectivity. Isolating them from the sand fly gut is not exempt from technical difficulty, because other promastigote forms remain in the gut even 15 days after infection. Leishmania major procyclic promastigotes within the sand fly gut up-regulate genes involved in cell cycle regulation and glucose catabolism, whereas metacyclics increase transcript levels of fatty acid biosynthesis and ATP-coupled proton transport genes. Most parasite's signal transduction pathways remain uncharacterized. Future elucidation may improve understanding of parasite development, particularly signaling molecule-encoding genes in sand fly versus culture and between promastigote forms in the sand fly gut.
CONCLUSIONS:Transcriptome analysis has been demonstrated to be technically efficacious to study differential gene expression in sand fly gut promastigote forms. Transcript and protein levels are not well correlated in these organisms (approximately 25% quantitative coincidences), especially under stress situations and at differentiation processes. However, transcript and protein levels behave similarly in approximately 60% of cases from a qualitative point of view (increase, decrease, or no variation). Changes in translational efficiency observed in other trypanosomatids strongly suggest that the differences are due to translational regulation and regulation of the steady-state protein levels. The lack of low-input sample strategies does not allow translatome and proteome analysis of sand fly-derived promastigotes so far.
Description10 p.-2 fig.-2 tab.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007288
DOI10.1371/journal. pntd.0007288
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