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      Trypanosoma cruzi Coexpressing Ornithine Decarboxylase and Green Fluorescence Proteins as a Tool to Study the Role of Polyamines in Chagas Disease Pathology

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          Polyamines are essential for Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease. As T. cruzi behaves as a natural auxotrophic organism, it relies on host polyamines biosynthesis. In this paper we obtained a double-transfected T. cruzi parasite that expresses the green fluorescent protein (GFP) and a heterologous ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), used itself as a novel selectable marker. These autotrophic and fluorescent parasites were characterized; the ODC presented an apparent Km for ornithine of 0.51 ± 0.16 mM and an estimated V max value of 476.2 nmoles/h/mg of protein. These expressing ODC parasites showed higher metacyclogenesis capacity than the auxotrophic counterpart, supporting the idea that polyamines are engaged in this process. This double-transfected T. cruzi parasite results in a powerful tool—easy to follow by its fluorescence—to study the role of polyamines in Chagas disease pathology and in related processes such as parasite survival, invasion, proliferation, metacyclogenesis, and tissue spreading.

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          Most cited references 88

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          The genome sequence of Trypanosoma cruzi, etiologic agent of Chagas disease.

          Whole-genome sequencing of the protozoan pathogen Trypanosoma cruzi revealed that the diploid genome contains a predicted 22,570 proteins encoded by genes, of which 12,570 represent allelic pairs. Over 50% of the genome consists of repeated sequences, such as retrotransposons and genes for large families of surface molecules, which include trans-sialidases, mucins, gp63s, and a large novel family (>1300 copies) of mucin-associated surface protein (MASP) genes. Analyses of the T. cruzi, T. brucei, and Leishmania major (Tritryp) genomes imply differences from other eukaryotes in DNA repair and initiation of replication and reflect their unusual mitochondrial DNA. Although the Tritryp lack several classes of signaling molecules, their kinomes contain a large and diverse set of protein kinases and phosphatases; their size and diversity imply previously unknown interactions and regulatory processes, which may be targets for intervention.
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             C W Tabor,  H TABOR (1983)
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              A perspective of polyamine metabolism.

              Polyamines are essential for the growth and function of normal cells. They interact with various macromolecules, both electrostatically and covalently and, as a consequence, have a variety of cellular effects. The complexity of polyamine metabolism and the multitude of compensatory mechanisms that are invoked to maintain polyamine homoeostasis argue that these amines are critical to cell survival. The regulation of polyamine content within cells occurs at several levels, including transcription and translation. In addition, novel features such as the +1 frameshift required for antizyme production and the rapid turnover of several of the enzymes involved in the pathway make the regulation of polyamine metabolism a fascinating subject. The link between polyamine content and human disease is unequivocal, and significant success has been obtained in the treatment of a number of parasitic infections. Targeting the polyamine pathway as a means of treating cancer has met with limited success, although the development of drugs such as DFMO (alpha-difluoromethylornithine), a rationally designed anticancer agent, has revolutionized our understanding of polyamine function in cell growth and provided 'proof of concept' that influencing polyamine metabolism and content within tumour cells will prevent tumour growth. The more recent development of the polyamine analogues has been pivotal in advancing our understanding of the necessity to deplete all three polyamines to induce apoptosis in tumour cells. The current thinking is that the polyamine inhibitors/analogues may also be useful agents in the chemoprevention of cancer and, in this area, we may yet see a revival of DFMO. The future will be in adopting a functional genomics approach to identifying polyamine-regulated genes linked to either carcinogenesis or apoptosis.

                Author and article information

                Enzyme Res
                Enzyme Research
                SAGE-Hindawi Access to Research
                1 June 2011
                : 2011
                1Fundación Instituto Leloir-(FIL-IIBBA-) CONICET and Departamento de Química Biológica, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, 1428 Buenos Aires, Argentina
                2Laboratorio de Biología Celular y Molecular, Instituto de Histología y Embriología-(IHEM-) CONICET, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, 5500 Mendoza, Argentina
                Author notes

                Academic Editor: Claudio Alejandro Pereira

                Copyright © 2011 Jeremías José Barclay et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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