BACKGROUND: Trypanosoma cruzi is an intracellular parasite that, like some other intracellular pathogens, targets specific proteins of the host cell vesicular transport machinery, leading to a modulation of host cell processes that results in the generation of unique phagosomes. In mammalian cells, several molecules have been identified that selectively regulate the formation of endocytic transport vesicles and the fusion of such vesicles with appropriate acceptor membranes. Among these, the GTPase dynamin plays an important role in clathrin-mediated endocytosis, and it was recently found that dynamin can participate in a phagocytic process. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We used a compound called dynasore that has the ability to block the GTPase activity of dynamin. Dynasore acts as a potent inhibitor of endocytic pathways by blocking coated vesicle formation within seconds of its addition. Here, we investigated whether dynamin is involved in the entry process of T. cruzi in phagocytic and non-phagocytic cells by using dynasore. In this aim, peritoneal macrophages and LLC-MK2 cells were treated with increasing concentrations of dynasore before interaction with trypomastigotes, amastigotes or epimastigotes. We observed that, in both cell lines, the parasite internalization was drastically diminished (by greater than 90% in LLC-MK2 cells and 70% in peritoneal macrophages) when we used 100 microM dynasore. The T. cruzi adhesion index, however, was unaffected in either cell line. Analyzing these interactions by scanning electron microscopy and comparing peritoneal macrophages to LLC-MK2 cells revealed differences in the stage at which cell entry was blocked. In LLC-MK2 cells, this blockade is observed earlier than it is in peritoneal macrophages. In LLC-MK2 cells, the parasites were only associated with cellular microvilli, whereas in peritoneal macrophages, trypomastigotes were not completely engulfed by a host cell plasma membrane. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Taken together our results demonstrate that dynamin is an essential molecule necessary for cell invasion and specifically parasitophorous vacuole formation by host cells during interaction with Trypanosoma cruzi.
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