Phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor-2α in response to endoplasmic reticulum and nitrosative stress in the human protozoan parasite, Entamoeba histolytica

Heather A. Walters, Brenda H. Welter, William J. Sullivan, Lesly A. Temesvari

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Abstract

Entamoeba histolytica is an intestinal parasite infecting over 50 million people worldwide and is the causative agent of amebic dysentery and amoebic liver abscess. In the human host, E. histolytica experiences stress brought on by nutrient deprivation and the host immune response. To be a successful parasite, E. histolytica must counter the stress; therefore, understanding the stress response may uncover new drug targets. In many systems, the stress response includes down-regulation of protein translation, which is regulated by phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF-2α). Previous work has demonstrated that phosphorylation of the E. histolytica eIF-2α (EheIF-2α) increases significantly when exposed to long-term serum starvation, oxidative stress, and long-term heat shock. However, the effects of reagents that are known to induce nitrosative or endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stresses, on EheIF-2α have yet to be evaluated. Nitrosative stress is part of the host's immune response and ER stress can be caused by several physiological or pathological factors. We treated E. histolytica cells with various reagents known to induce nitrosative stress (DPTA-NONOate and SNP) or ER stress (BFA and DTT). We examined the morphology of the ER, tracked phosphorylation of EheIF-2α, and assessed protein translation in control and stressed cells. While all four stress-inducing reagents caused a global reduction in protein translation, only DTT was capable of also inducing changes in the morphology of the ER (consistent with ER stress) and phosphorylation of EheIF-2α. This suggests that DTT authentically induces ER stress in E. histolytica and that this stress is managed by the eIF-2α-based system. This was supported by the observation that cells expressing a non-phosphorylatable version of eIF-2α were also highly sensitive to DTT-stress. Since protein translation decreased in the absence of phosphorylation of eIF-2α (after treatment with DPTA-NONOate, SNP or BFA), the data also indicate that there are alternative protein-translational control pathways in E. histolytica. Overall, our study further illuminates the stress response to nitrosative stress and ER stress in E. histolytica.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111223
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Volume234
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2019

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Keywords

  • ER stress
  • Entamoeba histolytica
  • Eukaryotic initiation factor-2 alpha
  • Nitrosative stress
  • Translational control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Molecular Biology

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