The Effect of Tunicamycin on the Glucose Uptake, Growth, and Cellular Adhesion in the Protozoan Parasite Crithidia fasciculata
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Crithidia fasciculata represents a very interesting model organism to study biochemical, cellular, and genetic processes unique to members of the family of the Trypanosomatidae. Thus, C. fasciculata parasitizes several species of insects and has been widely used to test new therapeutic strategies against parasitic infections. By using tunicamycin, a potent inhibitor of glycosylation in asparaginyl residues of glycoproteins (N-glycosylation), we demonstrate that N-glycosylation in C. fasciculata cells is involved in modulating glucose uptake, dramatically impacting growth, and cell adhesion. C. fasciculata treated with tunicamycin was severely affected in their ability to replicate and to adhere to polystyrene substrates and losing their ability to aggregate into small and large groups. Moreover, under tunicamycin treatment, the parasites were considerably shorter and rounder and displayed alterations in cytoplasmic vesicles formation. Furthermore, glucose uptake was significantly impaired in a tunicamycin dose-dependent manner; however, no cytotoxic effect was observed. Interestingly, this effect was reversible. Thus, when tunicamycin was removed from the culture media, the parasites recovered its growth rate, cell adhesion properties, and glucose uptake. Collectively, these results suggest that changes in the tunicamycin-dependent glycosylation levels can influence glucose uptake, cell growth, and adhesion in the protozoan parasite C. fasciculata.
KeywordsGlucose Uptake Protozoan Parasite Tunicamycin Multivesicular Body Tunicamycin Treatment
Special thanks to Professor Luis Carlos de Souza Ferreira and Prof. Rita de Cássia Café Ferreira for their great support, helpful tips, learning, friendship, and invaluable scientific discussions received in the CEVAT laboratory, São Paulo University, São Paulo, Brazil.
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