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PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e26660. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026660. Epub 2011 Oct 27.

Paromomycin affects translation and vesicle-mediated trafficking as revealed by proteomics of paromomycin -susceptible -resistant Leishmania donovani.

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School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.


Leishmania donovani is a protozoan parasite that causes visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and is responsible for significant mortality and morbidity. Increasing resistance towards antimonial drugs poses a great challenge in chemotherapy of VL. Paromomycin is an aminoglycosidic antibiotic and is one of the drugs currently being used in the chemotherapy of cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis. To understand the mode of action of this antibiotic at the molecular level, we have investigated the global proteome differences between the wild type AG83 strain and a paromomycin resistant (PRr) strain of L. donovani. Stable isotope labeling of amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) followed by quantitative mass spectrometry of the wild type AG83 strain and the paromomycin resistant (PRr) strain identified a total of 226 proteins at ≥ 95% confidence. Data analysis revealed upregulation of 29 proteins and down-regulation of 21 proteins in the PRr strain. Comparative proteomic analysis of the wild type and the paromomycin resistant strains showed upregulation of the ribosomal proteins in the resistant strain indicating role in translation. Elevated levels of glycolytic enzymes and stress proteins were also observed in the PRr strain. Most importantly, we observed upregulation of proteins that may have a role in intracellular survival and vesicular trafficking in the PRr strain. Furthermore, ultra-structural analysis by electron microscopy demonstrated increased number of vesicular vacuoles in PRr strain when compared to the wild-type strain. Drug affinity pull-down assay followed by mass spectrometery identified proteins in L. donovani wild type strain that were specifically and covalently bound to paromomycin. These results provide the first comprehensive insight into the mode of action and underlying mechanism of resistance to paromomycin in Leishmania donovani.

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