RNAi screening identifies Trypanosoma brucei stress response protein kinases required for survival in the mouse

Fernandez-Cortes, F., Serafim, T. D., Wilkes, J. M. , Jones, N. G., Ritchie, R., McCulloch, R. and Mottram, J. C. (2017) RNAi screening identifies Trypanosoma brucei stress response protein kinases required for survival in the mouse. Scientific Reports, 7, 6156. (doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-06501-8) (PMID:28733613) (PMCID:PMC5522463)

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Protein kinases (PKs) are a class of druggable targets in Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of Human African Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), yet little is known about which PKs are essential for survival in mammals. A recent kinome-wide RNAi screen with 176 individual bloodstream form Trypanosoma brucei lines identified PKs required for proliferation in culture. In order to assess which PKs are also potential virulence factors essential in vivo, lines were pooled, inoculated into mice, and screened for loss of fitness after 48 h RNAi. The presence of trypanosomes in the bloodstream was assessed using RNAi target sequencing (RITseq) and compared to growth in culture. We identified 49 PKs with a significant loss of fitness in vivo in two independent experiments, and a strong correlation between in vitro and in vivo loss of fitness for the majority. Nine PKs had a more pronounced growth defect in vivo, than in vitro. Amongst these PKs were several with putative functions related to stress responses mediated through the PI3K/TOR or MAPK signaling cascades, which act to protect the parasite from complement-mediated and osmotic lysis. Identification of these virulence-associated PKs provides new insights into T. brucei-host interaction and reveals novel potential protein kinase drug targets.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McCulloch, Professor Richard and Jones, Mr Nathaniel and Fernandez-Cortes, Dr Fernando and Wilkes, Dr Jonathan and Mottram, Professor Jeremy and Ritchie, Mr Ryan
Authors: Fernandez-Cortes, F., Serafim, T. D., Wilkes, J. M., Jones, N. G., Ritchie, R., McCulloch, R., and Mottram, J. C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity
Journal Name:Scientific Reports
Publisher:Nature Research
ISSN (Online):2045-2322
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Scientific Reports 7:6156
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
606431Kinase dependent control of DNA replication and repair as a drug target in Trypanosoma brucei.Richard McCullochBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/K006495/1III - PARASITOLOGY
371799The Wellcome Centre for Molecular Parasitology ( Core Support )Andrew WatersWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)104111/Z/14/Z & AIII - PARASITOLOGY