Preliminary evaluation of a Trypanosoma brucei FG-GAP repeat containing protein of mitochondrial localization [version 1; peer review: 1 approved, 1 approved with reservations]
Mugasa, Claire Mack
Lubega, George W.
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Trypanosoma brucei, a causative agent of African Trypanosomiasis, is known to cross the blood brain barrier during the second stage of the disease. It was previously suggested that this parasite crosses the blood brain barrier in a manner similar to that of lymphocytes. This would imply that trypanosomes possess integrins that are required to interact with adhesion molecules located on the blood brain barrier microvascular endothelial cells, as a first step in traversal. To date, no T. brucei integrin has been described. However, one T. brucei putative FG-GAP repeat containing protein (typical of integrins) encoded by the Tb927.11.720 gene, was predicted to be involved in cell-cell/cell-matrix adhesion. Therefore, this study sought to characterize a putative FG-GAP repeat containing protein (FG-GAP RCP) and to determine its cellular localization as a basis for further exploration of its potential role in cell-cell or cell-matrix adhesion. Methods: In this study, we successfully cloned, characterized, expressed and localized this protein using antibodies we produced against its VCBS domain in T. brucei. Results: Contrary to what we initially suspected, our data showed that this protein is localized to the mitochondria but not the plasma membrane. Our data showed that it contains putative calcium binding motifs within the FG-GAP repeats suggesting it could be involved in calcium signaling/binding in the mitochondrion of T. brucei. Conclusion: Based on its localization we conclude that this protein is unlikely to be a trypanosomal integrin and thus that it may not be involved in traversal of the blood brain barrier. However, it could be involved in calcium signaling in the mitochondrion.