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A unique, highly conserved secretory invertase is differentially expressed by promastigote developmental forms of all species of the human pathogen, Leishmania

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Todd A. Lyda
  • Manju B. Joshi
  • John F. Andersen
  • Andrew Y. Kelada
  • Joshua P. Owings
  • Paul A. Bates
  • Dennis M. Dwyer
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>06/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number1-2
Number of pages25
Pages (from-to)53-77
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date13/03/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Leishmania are protozoan pathogens of humans that exist as extracellular promastigotes in the gut of their sand fly vectors and as obligate intracellular amastigotes within phagolysosomes of infected macrophages. Between infectious blood meal feeds, sand flies take plant juice meals that contain sucrose and store these sugars in their crop. Such sugars are regurgitated into the sand fly anterior midgut where they impact the developing promastigote parasite population. In this report we showed that promastigotes of all Leishmania species secreted an invertase/sucrase enzyme during their growth in vitro. In contrast, neither L. donovani nor L. mexicana amastigotes possessed any detectable invertase activity. Importantly, no released/secreted invertase activity was detected in culture supernatants from either Trypanosoma brucei or Trypanosoma cruzi. Using HPLC, the L. donovani secretory invertase was isolated and subjected to amino acid sequencing. Subsequently, we used a molecular approach to identify the LdINV and LmexINV genes encoding the ~72 kDa invertases produced by these organisms. Interestingly, we identified high fidelity LdINV-like homologs in the genomes of all Leishmania sp. but none were present in either T. brucei or T. cruzi. Northern blot and RT-PCR analyses showed that these genes were developmentally/differentially expressed in promastigotes but not amastigotes of these parasites. Homologous transfection studies demonstrated that these genes in fact encoded the functional secretory invertases produced by these parasites. Cumulatively, our results suggest that these secretory enzymes play critical roles in the survival/growth/development and transmission of all Leishmania parasites within their sand fly vector hosts.