L-proline is essential for the intracellular differentiation of Trypanosoma cruzi

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Tonelli, Renata R.
Silber, Ariel M.
Almeida-de-Faria, Martinez
Hirata, Izaura Y. [UNIFESP]
Colli, Walter
Alves, Maria Julia M
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Using as the host cell, a proline-requiring mutant of Chinese hamster ovary cell (CHO-K1), it was possible to arrest the differentiation of amastigote forms of Trypanosoma cruzi at the intermediate intracellular epimastigote-like stage. Complete differentiation to the trypomastigote stage was obtained by addition of L-proline to the medium. This effect was more pronounced using the T. cruzi CL-14 clone that differentiates fully at 33degreesC (permissive temperature) and poorly at 37degreesC (restrictive temperature). A synchronous differentiation of T. cruzi inside the host-cell is then possible by temperature switching in the presence of proline. It was found that differentiation of intracellular epimastigotes and trypomastigote bursting were proline concentration dependent. the intracellular concentration of proline was measured as well as the transport capacity of proline by each stage of the parasite. Amastigotes have the highest concentration of free proline (8.09 +/- 1.46 mM) when compared to trypomastigotes (3.81 +/- 1.55) or intracellular epimastigote-like forms (0.45 +/- 0.06 mM). in spite of having the lowest content of intracellular free proline, intracellular epimastigotes maintained the highest levels of L-proline transport compared to trypomastigotes and intracellular amastigotes, providing evidence for a high turnover for the L-proline pool in that parasite stage. This is the first report to establish a relationship between proline concentration and intracellular differentiation of Trypanosoma cruzi in the mammalian host.
Cellular Microbiology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, v. 6, n. 8, p. 733-741, 2004.