Identification of a Golgi-localized UDP-Nacetylglucosamine transporter in Trypanosoma cruzi

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Background: Nucleotide sugar transporters (NSTs) play an essential role in translocating nucleotide sugars into the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus to be used as substrates in glycosylation reactions. This intracellular transport is an essential step in the biosynthesis of glycoconjugates. Results: We have identified a family of 11 putative NSTs in Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of Chagas' disease. A UDP-N-acetylglucosamine transporter, TcNST1, was identified by a yeast complementation approach. Based on a phylogenetic analysis four candidate genes were selected and used for complementation assays in a Kluyveromyces lactis mutant strain. The transporter is likely expressed in all stages of the parasite life cycle and during differentiation of epimastigotes to infective metacyclics. Immunofluorescence analyses of a GFP-TcNST1 fusion protein indicate that the transporter is localized to the Golgi apparatus. As many NSTs are multisubstrate transporters, we also tested the capacity of TcNST1 to transport GDP-Man. Conclusions: We have identified a UDP-N-acetylglucosamine transporter in T. cruzi, which is specifically localized to the Golgi apparatus and seems to be expressed, at the mRNA level, throughout the parasite life cycle. Functional studies of TcNST1 will be important to unravel the role of NSTs and specific glycoconjugates in T. cruzi survival and infectivity.




Baptista, C. G., Rodrigues, E. C., Morking, P., Klinke, A., Zardo, M. L., Soares, M. J., … Ramos, A. S. P. (2015). Identification of a Golgi-localized UDP-Nacetylglucosamine transporter in Trypanosoma cruzi. BMC Microbiology, 15(1).

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