Rapid Changes in Polyphosphate Content within Acidocalcisomes in Response to Cell Growth, Differentiation, and Environmental Stress in Trypanosoma cruzi

Felix A. Ruiz, Claudia O. Rodrigues, Roberto Docampo

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Inorganic polyphosphate (polyP) has been identified and measured in different stages of Trypanosoma cruzi. Millimolar levels (in terms of Pi residues) in chains of less than 50 residues long, and micromolar levels in chains of about 700-800 residues long, were found in different stages of T. cruzi. Anal. of purified T. cruzi acidocalcisomes indicated that polyPs were preferentially located in these organelles. This was confirmed by visualization of polyPs in the acidocalcisomes using 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole. A rapid increase (within 2-4 h) in the levels of short and long chain polyPs was detected during trypomastigote to amastigote differentiation and during the lag phase of growth of epimastigotes (within 12-24 h). Levels rapidly decreased after the epimastigotes resumed growth. Short and long chain polyP levels rapidly decreased upon exposure of epimastigotes to hypo-osmotic or alkaline stresses, whereas levels increased after hyperosmotic stress. Ca2+ release from acidocalcisomes by a combination of ionophores (ionomycin and nigericin) was associated with the hydrolysis of short and long chain polyPs. In agreement with these results, acidocalcisomes were shown to contain polyphosphate kinase and exopolyphosphatase activities. Together, these results suggest a critical role for these organelles in the adaptation of the parasite to environmental changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26114-26121
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 13 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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