, Volume 101, Issue 5, pp 1355-1363
Date: 23 Jul 2007

Sequence diversity and differential expression of Tc52 immuno-regulatory protein in Trypanosoma cruzi: potential implications in the biological variability of strains

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Trypanosoma cruzi is highly heterogeneous in terms of genetics and biological properties. To explore the diversity of T. cruzi, we focused our study on the T. cruzi Tc52 protein playing a critical immunosuppressive role during infection. Sequence variability and expression levels of this virulence factor were analysed in various strains. Among the 40 amino acid substitutions detected in the Tc52 coding sequences, three substitutions may have an impact on protein activity or function, as two are localized in sites involved in the glutathione binding and the third is present in the region bearing immunomodulatory function. This sequence variability was consistent with the genetic subdivisions of T. cruzi. Moreover, we observed that the level of Tc52 transcripts and proteins varied between the different strains, but we did not find a significant correlation between Tc52 expression and the phylogeny of the parasite. Thus, both diversity in the sequences and differences in the expression levels of Tc52 protein may be involved in the biological variability of T. cruzi, especially in virulence and immunosuppression properties of T. cruzi strains.

Nucleotide sequence data reported in this paper are available in the GenBank database under accession numbers EF065175, EF065176, EF065177, EF194059, EF194060, EF194061, EF194062 and EF194063.