Host cell actin polymerization is required for cellular retention of Trypanosoma cruzi and early association with endosomal/lysosomal compartments

  • Woolsey A
  • Burleigh B
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One of the hallmarks of Trypanosoma cruzi invasion of non-professional phagocytes is facilitation of the process by host cell actin depolymerization. Host cell entry by invasive T. cruzi trypomastigotes is accomplished by exploiting a cellular wound repair process involving Ca2+-regulated lysosome exocytosis (i.e. lysosome-dependent) or by engaging a recently recognized lysosome-independent pathway. It was originally postulated that cortical actin microfilaments present a barrier to lysosome-plasma membrane fusion and that transient actin depolymerization enhances T. cruzi entry by increasing access to the plasma membrane for lysosome fusion. Here we demonstrate that cytochalasin D treatment of host cells inhibits early lysosome association with invading T. cruzi trypomastigotes by uncoupling the cell penetration step from lysosome recruitment and/or fusion. These findings provide the first indication that lysosome-dependent T. cruzi entry is initiated by plasma membrane invagination similar to that observed for lysosome-independent entry. Furthermore, prolonged disruption of host cell actin microfilaments results in significant loss of internalized parasites from infected host cells. Thus, the ability of internalized trypomastigotes to remain cell-associated and to fuse with host cell lysosomes is critically dependent upon host cell actin reassembly, revealing an unanticipated role for cellular actin remodelling in the T. cruzi invasion process.

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