An essential role for the Leishmania major metacaspase in cell cycle progression

A. Ambit, N. Fasel, G.H. Coombs, J.C. Mottram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Metacaspases (MCAs) are distant orthologues of caspases and have been proposed to play a role in programmed cell death in yeast and plants, but little is known about their function in parasitic protozoa. The MCA gene of Leishmania major (LmjMCA) is expressed in actively replicating amastigotes and procyclic promastigotes, but at a lower level in metacyclic promastigotes. LmjMCA has a punctate distribution throughout the cell in interphase cells, but becomes concentrated in the kinetoplast (mitochondrial DNA) at the time of the organelle's segregation. LmjMCA also translocates to the nucleus during mitosis, where it associates with the mitotic spindle. Overexpression of LmjMCA in promastigotes leads to a severe growth retardation and changes in ploidy, due to defects in kinetoplast segregation and nuclear division and an impairment of cytokinesis. LmjMCA null mutants could not be generated and following genetic manipulation to express LmjMCA from an episome, the only mutants that were viable were those expressing LmjMCA at physiological levels. Together these data suggest that in L. major active LmjMCA is essential for the correct segregation of the nucleus and kinetoplast, functions that could be independent of programmed cell death, and that the amount of LmjMCA is crucial. The absence of MCAs from mammals makes the enzyme a potential drug target against protozoan parasites.
LanguageEnglish
Pages113-122
Number of pages9
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Volume15
Early online date28 Sep 2007
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Fingerprint

Leishmania major
Cell Cycle
Cell Death
Kinetoplast DNA
Cell Nucleus Division
Spindle Apparatus
Cytokinesis
Ploidies
Interphase
Caspases
Mitochondrial DNA
Mitosis
Organelles
Mammals
Parasites
Plasmids
Yeasts
Enzymes
Growth
Pharmaceutical Preparations

Keywords

  • parasite
  • Leishmania
  • metacaspase
  • caspase
  • cell cycle
  • programmed cell death

Cite this

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title = "An essential role for the Leishmania major metacaspase in cell cycle progression",
abstract = "Metacaspases (MCAs) are distant orthologues of caspases and have been proposed to play a role in programmed cell death in yeast and plants, but little is known about their function in parasitic protozoa. The MCA gene of Leishmania major (LmjMCA) is expressed in actively replicating amastigotes and procyclic promastigotes, but at a lower level in metacyclic promastigotes. LmjMCA has a punctate distribution throughout the cell in interphase cells, but becomes concentrated in the kinetoplast (mitochondrial DNA) at the time of the organelle's segregation. LmjMCA also translocates to the nucleus during mitosis, where it associates with the mitotic spindle. Overexpression of LmjMCA in promastigotes leads to a severe growth retardation and changes in ploidy, due to defects in kinetoplast segregation and nuclear division and an impairment of cytokinesis. LmjMCA null mutants could not be generated and following genetic manipulation to express LmjMCA from an episome, the only mutants that were viable were those expressing LmjMCA at physiological levels. Together these data suggest that in L. major active LmjMCA is essential for the correct segregation of the nucleus and kinetoplast, functions that could be independent of programmed cell death, and that the amount of LmjMCA is crucial. The absence of MCAs from mammals makes the enzyme a potential drug target against protozoan parasites.",
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An essential role for the Leishmania major metacaspase in cell cycle progression. / Ambit, A.; Fasel, N.; Coombs, G.H.; Mottram, J.C.

In: Cell Death and Differentiation, Vol. 15, 2008, p. 113-122.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Fasel, N.

AU - Coombs, G.H.

AU - Mottram, J.C.

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AB - Metacaspases (MCAs) are distant orthologues of caspases and have been proposed to play a role in programmed cell death in yeast and plants, but little is known about their function in parasitic protozoa. The MCA gene of Leishmania major (LmjMCA) is expressed in actively replicating amastigotes and procyclic promastigotes, but at a lower level in metacyclic promastigotes. LmjMCA has a punctate distribution throughout the cell in interphase cells, but becomes concentrated in the kinetoplast (mitochondrial DNA) at the time of the organelle's segregation. LmjMCA also translocates to the nucleus during mitosis, where it associates with the mitotic spindle. Overexpression of LmjMCA in promastigotes leads to a severe growth retardation and changes in ploidy, due to defects in kinetoplast segregation and nuclear division and an impairment of cytokinesis. LmjMCA null mutants could not be generated and following genetic manipulation to express LmjMCA from an episome, the only mutants that were viable were those expressing LmjMCA at physiological levels. Together these data suggest that in L. major active LmjMCA is essential for the correct segregation of the nucleus and kinetoplast, functions that could be independent of programmed cell death, and that the amount of LmjMCA is crucial. The absence of MCAs from mammals makes the enzyme a potential drug target against protozoan parasites.

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