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Leishmania heme uptake involves LmFLVCRb, a novel porphyrin transporter essential for the parasite

AuthorsCabello-Donayre, M.; Orrego, L.M.; Herráez, E.; Vargas, P.; Martínez-García, M.; Campos-Salinas, Jenny; Pérez-Victoria, I.; Vicente, B.; Marín, J.J.G.; Pérez-Victoria, J. M.
Heme trafficking
Trypanosomatid parasites
Issue Date2019
PublisherSpringer Nature
CitationCellular and Molecular Life Sciences (2019)
AbstractLeishmaniasis comprises a group of neglected diseases caused by the protozoan parasite Leishmania spp. As is the case for other trypanosomatid parasites, Leishmania is auxotrophic for heme and must scavenge this essential compound from its human host. In mammals, the SLC transporter FLVCR2 mediates heme import across the plasma membrane. Herein we identify and characterize Leishmania major FLVCRb (LmFLVCRb), the first member of the FLVCR family studied in a non-metazoan organism. This protein localizes to the plasma membrane of the parasite and is able to bind heme. LmFLVCRb levels in Leishmania, which are modulated by overexpression thereof or the abrogation of an LmFLVCRb allele, correlate with the ability of the parasite to take up porphyrins. Moreover, injection of LmFLVCRb cRNA to Xenopus laevis oocytes provides these cells with the ability to take up heme. This process is temperature dependent, requires monovalent ions and is inhibited at basic pH, characteristics shared by the uptake of heme by Leishmania parasites. Interestingly, LmFLVCRb is essential as CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout parasites were only obtained in the presence of an episomal copy of the gene. In addition, deletion of just one of the alleles of the LmFLVCRb gene markedly impairs parasite replication as intracellular amastigotes as well as its virulence in an in vivo model of cutaneous leishmaniasis. Collectively, these results show that Leishmania parasites can rescue heme through plasma membrane transporter LFLVCRb, which could constitute a novel target for therapeutic intervention against Leishmania and probably other trypanosomatid parasites in which FLVCR genes are also present.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00018-019-03258-3
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s00018-019-03258-3
issn: 1420-682X
e-issn: 1420-9071
Appears in Collections:(IPBLN) Artículos
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