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PLoS Pathog. 2016 Feb 24;12(2):e1005439. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005439. eCollection 2016 Feb.

Quantitative Proteomics Uncovers Novel Factors Involved in Developmental Differentiation of Trypanosoma brucei.

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Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), Ackermannweg 4, Mainz, Germany.
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Biocenter, University Wuerzburg, Am Hubland, Wuerzburg, Germany.
Department Biology I, Genetics, University of Munich (LMU), Großhaderner, Martinsried, Germany.


Developmental differentiation is a universal biological process that allows cells to adapt to different environments to perform specific functions. African trypanosomes progress through a tightly regulated life cycle in order to survive in different host environments when they shuttle between an insect vector and a vertebrate host. Transcriptomics has been useful to gain insight into RNA changes during stage transitions; however, RNA levels are only a moderate proxy for protein abundance in trypanosomes. We quantified 4270 protein groups during stage differentiation from the mammalian-infective to the insect form and provide classification for their expression profiles during development. Our label-free quantitative proteomics study revealed previously unknown components of the differentiation machinery that are involved in essential biological processes such as signaling, posttranslational protein modifications, trafficking and nuclear transport. Furthermore, guided by our proteomic survey, we identified the cause of the previously observed differentiation impairment in the histone methyltransferase DOT1B knock-out strain as it is required for accurate karyokinesis in the first cell division during differentiation. This epigenetic regulator is likely involved in essential chromatin restructuring during developmental differentiation, which might also be important for differentiation in higher eukaryotic cells. Our proteome dataset will serve as a resource for detailed investigations of cell differentiation to shed more light on the molecular mechanisms of this process in trypanosomes and other eukaryotes.

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