Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO)-conjugating system of Toxoplasma

Int J Parasitol. 2008 Aug 12. [Epub ahead of print]

The small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO)-conjugating system of Toxoplasma gondii

Braun L, Cannella D, Pinheiro AM, Kieffer S, Belrhali H, Garin J, Hakimi MA.

Laboratoire Adaptation et Pathogénie des Micro-organismes, Université Joseph Fourier, France; CNRS UMR 5163 - ATIP+ group, France.

SUMOylation, the reversible covalent attachment of small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) peptides has emerged as an important regulator of target protein function. Here we show, by characterization of the Toxoplasma gondii SUMO pathway, that the SUMO conjugation system operates in apicomplexan parasites. A gene encoding the SUMO tag was discovered as were genes encoding the various enzymes required for SUMO processing, ligation and release. Various SUMO conjugates were immuno-detected and by means of a global proteomic-based approach, we identified several T. gondii SUMOylated proteins that reveal many diverse cellular processes in which the modification plays a role. More specifically, SUMO conjugates were seen at the tachyzoite surface in response to signaling generated by host cell contact at the time of invasion. Also, under tissue culture conditions that stimulate bradyzoite differentiation (alkaline pH), we observed the conjugates at the parasitophorous vacuole membrane. The labeling was also at the surface of the mature cysts isolated from parasite-infected mouse brain. Overall, the SUMO conjugation system appears to be a complex and functionally heterogeneous pathway for protein modification in T. gondii with initial data indicating that it is likely to play a putative role in host cell invasion and cyst genesis.

PMID: 18761012 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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