Projects per year
One of the most promising new targets for trypanocidal drugs to emerge in recent years is the cyclic AMP (cAMP) phosphodiesterase (PDE) activity encoded by TbrPDEB1 and TbrPDEB2. These genes were genetically confirmed as essential, and a highaffinity inhibitor, CpdA, displays potent antitrypanosomal activity. To identify effectors of the elevated cAMP levels resulting from CpdA action and, consequently, potential sites for adaptations giving resistance to PDE inhibitors, resistance to the drug was induced. Selection of mutagenized trypanosomes resulted in resistance to CpdA as well as cross-resistance to membranepermeable cAMP analogues but not to currently used trypanocidal drugs. Resistance was not due to changes in cAMP levels or in PDEB genes. A second approach, a genome-wide RNA interference (RNAi) library screen, returned four genes giving resistance to CpdA upon knockdown. Validation by independent RNAi strategies confirmed resistance to CpdA and suggested a role for the identified cAMP Response Proteins (CARPs) in cAMP action. CARP1 is unique to kinetoplastid parasites and has predicted cyclic nucleotide binding-like domains, and RNAi repression resulted in>100-fold resistance. CARP2 and CARP4 are hypothetical conserved proteins associated with the eukaryotic flagellar proteome or with flagellar function, with an orthologue of CARP4 implicated in human disease. CARP3 is a hypothetical protein, unique to Trypanosoma. CARP1 to CARP4 likely represent components of a novel cAMP signaling pathway in the parasite. As cAMP metabolism is validated as a drug target in Trypanosoma brucei, cAMP effectors highly divergent from the mammalian host, such as CARP1, lend themselves to further pharmacological development.
High-Throughput Decoding of Virulence Mechanisms in African Trypanosomes (Senior Investigator Award)
1/09/13 → 29/02/20
1/09/13 → 31/03/14