A lipid-modified phosphoinositide-specific phospholipase C (TcPI-PLC) is involved in differentiation of trypomastigotes to amastigotes of Trypanosoma cruzi

Okura M, Fang J, Salto ML, Singer RS, Docampo R, Moreno SN
Journal of Biological Chemistry 280:16235-16243

The phosphoinositide-specific phospholipase C (PI-PLC) is an important component of the inositol phosphate/diacylglycerol signaling pathway. A newly discovered Trypanosoma cruzi PI-PLC (TcPI-PLC) is lipid modified in its N terminus, targeted to its plasma membrane, and believed to play a role in differentiation of the parasite because its expression increases during the differentiation of trypomastigote to amastigote stages. To determine whether TcPI-PLC is involved in this differentiation step, antisense inhibition using phosphorothioate-modified oligonucleotides, and overexpression of the gene were performed. Antisense oligonucleotide-treated parasites showed a reduced rate of differentiation in comparison to controls, as well as accumulation of intermediate forms. Overexpression of TcPI-PLC led to a faster differentiation rate. In contrast, overexpression of a mutant TcPI-PLC that lacked the lipid modification at its N terminus did not affect the differentiation rate. Therefore, TcPI-PLC is involved, when expressed in the plasma membrane, in the differentiation of trypomastigotes to amastigotes, an essential step for the intracellular replication of these parasites.