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Kinetoplastid Biol Dis. 2005 Jan 24;4(1):1.

Experimental study of the function of the excreted/secreted Leishmania LmSIR2 protein by heterologous expression in eukaryotic cell line.

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  • 1UR008 "Pathogénie des Trypanosomatidés", Centre IRD de Montpellier, 911 avenue Agropolis, BP5045, 34032 Montpellier, France. sereno@mpl.ird.fr.



In yeast and Caenorhabditis elegans, Silent Information Regulator (SIR2) proteins have been shown to be involved in ageing regulation. In Leishmania, the LmSIR2rp was originally isolated from the excreted/secreted material of the Leishmania parasites. Among the function(s) of this protein in Leishmania biology, we have documented its implication in parasite survival, and in particular in Leishmania amastigotes. In this paper we question the role of the excreted/secreted form of the protein. In particular we wonder if the Leishmania Sir2 homologue is involved in some aspect of its biological function(s), in various components and pathways, which could promote the host cell survival. To test this hypothesis we have mimicked an intracellular release of the protein through constitutive expression in mouse L929 fibrosarcoma cells.


Our results demonstrate that the LmSIR2 protein was properly expressed by fibroblasts and that LmSIR2 is localized both in the cytoplasm and the nucleus of all the transformed cell clones. Unexpectedly, we found that cells expressing LmSIR2 presents reduced saturation cell density ranging from 40% to 60% and expressed an acidic (pH6.0) beta-galactosidase activity, which is known to be a senescence biomarker. As a consequence, we observed that LmSIR2 positive fibroblasts were more permissive towards Leihmania infection.


LmSIR2 is able to substantially interfere with the host cell physiology. Thus, it is tempting to speculate that these modifications could help Leishmania to survive for a long period in a cell with reduced capacity to multiply or respond to immunologic stimuli. The potential implications of our finding during the in vivo infection process are discussed.

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