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Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 125, Issue 5, pp 545–556 | Cite as

Cell death in trichomonads: new insights

  • Rafael M. Mariante
  • Ricardo G. Vancini
  • Marlene BenchimolEmail author
Article

Abstract

Tritrichomonas foetus is an amitochondriate parasite that possesses hydrogenosomes, unusual anerobic energy-producing organelles. In these organisms the “mitochondrial cell death machinery” is supposed to be absent, and the mechanisms that lead to cell demise remain to be elucidated. The presence of a cell death program in trichomonads has already been reported, suggesting the existence of a caspase-like execution pathway in such organisms. Here we demonstrate the alterations provoked by the fungicide griseofulvin and raise the possibility that other cell death pathways may exist in T. foetus. Dramatic changes in trichomonads morphology are presented after griseofulvin treatment, such as intense plasma membrane and nuclear envelope blebbing, nucleus fragmentation, and an abnormal number of oversized vacuoles. One important finding was the exposition of phosphatidylserine (PS) in the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane in cells after drug treatment, and also the presence of a high amount of misshapen flagella and tubulin precipitates as vacuolar contents, suggesting an autophagic process of abnormal cellular elements. Interestingly, immunoreactivity for activated caspase-3 was not detected during griseofulvin treatment, a finding distinct from the observed when this cell was treated with H2O2. The possibility of the existence of different pathways to cell death in trichomonads is discussed.

Keywords

Tritrichomonas foetus Cell death Griseofulvin Hydrogenosomes 

Abbreviations

DMSO

Dimethyl sulfoxide

DAPI

4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole dihydrochloride

AIF

Apoptosis-inducing factor

CAD

Caspase-activated DNase

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Programa de Apoio a Núcleos de Excelência (PRONEX), Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), and Associação Universitária Santa Úrsula (AUSU). The authors thank Dr. Keith Gull for the TAT-1 antibody and Dr. Anu Srinivasan for the CM1 antibody.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rafael M. Mariante
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ricardo G. Vancini
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marlene Benchimol
    • 2
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Programa de Ciências MorfológicasUniversidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrasil
  2. 2.Laboratório de Ultraestrutura CelularUniversidade Santa ÚrsulaRio de JaneiroBrasil
  3. 3.Laboratório de Neurogênese, Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas FilhoUniversidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrasil
  4. 4. Botafogo, Rio de JaneiroBrazil

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