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Volume 52, Number 2, April 2019

Potential role of autophagy in proteolysis in Trichomonas vaginalis 

Kuo-Yang Huang, Ruei-Min Chen, Hsin-Chung Lin, Wei-Hung Cheng, Hsin-An Lin, Wei-Ning Lin, Po-Jung Huang, Cheng-Hsun Chiu, PetrusTang


Background and purpose: 

Autophagy has been shown to be involved in the pathogenesis of several protists, offering prospects for the developments of new drugs targeting autophagy. However, there is no evidence illustrating functional autophagy in the deep-branching trichomonads. The human parasitic protist Trichomonas vaginalis has been predicted to possess reduced autophagic machinery, with only autophagy-related protein 8 (Atg8) conjugation system required for autophagosome formation. 



The recombinant protein of TvAtg8 (rTvAtg8) and the polyclonal antibody against rTvAtg8 were generated. The expression and localization of TvAtg8 was monitored upon autophagy induction by glucose restriction (GR) compared with glucose-rich cultivation. The role of TvAtg8 in proteolysis was clarified. 



Here, we report that T. vaginalis Atg8 (TvAtg8) is upregulated and conjugated to autophagosome-like vesicles upon autophagy induction by GR. Moreover, we investigate, for the first time, the role of autophagy in T. vaginalis. Proteasome inhibition (PI)-induced autophagy compensates for the removal of polyubiquitinated proteins under glucose-rich condition. GR-induced autophagy is a major proteolytic system in T. vaginalis. These results suggest that autophagy is vital for proteolysis in T. vaginalis with an impaired ubiquitin-proteasome system or under glucose-limited environment. 



Our findings unveiled previously unidentified functions of autophagy in proteostasis in trichomonads, advancing our understanding of this highly conserved process in the ancient eukaryote. 


Key words:

Trichomonads Autophagy Ubiquitin proteasome system Proteolysis