Posted: 2021-09-17 19:00:00
Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) fulfills various physiological roles that are unrelated to its glycolytic function. However, to date, the non-glycolytic function of GAPDH in trypanosomal parasites is absent from the literature. Exosomes secreted from Leishmania, like entire parasites, were found to have a significant impact on macrophage cell signaling and function, indicating crosstalk with the host immune system. In this study, we demonstrate that the Leishmania GAPDH (LmGAPDH) protein is highly enriched within the extracellular vesicles (EVs) secreted during infection. To understand the function of LmGAPDH in EVs, we generated control (CT), overexpressed (OE), half-knockout (HKO), and complement (CM) cell lines. HKO cells displayed lower virulence compared to control cells when macrophages and BALB/c mice were infected with them, implying a crucial role for LmGAPDH in Leishmania infection and disease progression. Furthermore, upon infection of macrophages with HKO mutant Leishmania and its EVs, despite no differences in TNFA mRNA expression, there was a considerable increase in TNF-α protein expression compared to CT, OE, and CM parasites as determined by ELISA, RT-PCR, and immunoblot data. In vitro protein translation studies suggest that LmGAPDH-mediated TNF-α suppression occurs in a concentration-dependent manner. Moreover, mRNA binding assays also verified that LmGAPDH binds to the AU-rich 3'-UTR region of TNFA mRNA, limiting its production. Together, these findings confirmed that the LmGAPDH contained in EVs inhibits TNF-α expression in macrophages during infection via post-transcriptional repression. Keywords: Leishmania; TNF-α; extracellular vesicles; glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; host parasite interaction.
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