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Identification of a protein kinase A regulatory subunit from Leishmania having importance in metacyclogenesis through induction of autophagy

, : Identification of a protein kinase A regulatory subunit from Leishmania having importance in metacyclogenesis through induction of autophagy. Molecular Microbiology 83(3): 548-564

cAMP-mediated responses act as modulators of environmental sensing and cellular differentiation of many kinetoplastidae parasites including Leishmania. Although cAMP synthesizing (adenylate cyclase) and degrading (phosphodiesterase) enzymes have been cloned and characterized from Leishmania, no cAMP-binding effector molecule has yet been identified from this parasite. In this study, a regulatory subunit of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (Ldpkar1), homologous to mammalian class I cAMP-dependent protein kinase regulatory subunit, has been identified from L. donovani. Further characterization suggested possible interaction of LdPKAR1 with PKA catalytic subunits and inhibition of PKA activity. This PKA regulatory subunit is expressed in all life cycle stages and its expression attained maximum level in stationary phase promastigotes, which are biochemically similar to the infective metacyclic promastigotes. Starvation condition, the trigger for metacyclogenesis in the parasite, elevates LdPKAR1 expression and under starvation condition promastigotes overexpressing Ldpkar1 attained metacyclic features earlier than normal cells. Furthermore, Ldpkar1 overexpression accelerates autophagy, a starvation-induced cytological event necessary for metacyclogenesis and amastigote formation. Conditional silencing of Ldpkar1 delays the induction of autophagy in the parasite. The study, for the first time, reports the identification of a functional cAMP-binding effector molecule from Leishmania that may modulate important cytological events affecting metacyclogenesis.


PMID: 22168343

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2011.07950.x

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