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mSystems. 2019 Oct 15;4(5). pii: e00416-19. doi: 10.1128/mSystems.00416-19.

Genomewide Analysis of Mode of Action of the S-Adenosylmethionine Analogue Sinefungin in Leishmania infantum.

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Division of Infectious Disease and Immunity, CHU de Quebec Research Center, Quebec, Quebec, Canada.
Department of Microbiology, Infectious Disease and Immunology, University Laval, Quebec, Quebec, Canada.
Department of Cellular Biology and Pharmacology, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA.
Division of Infectious Disease and Immunity, CHU de Quebec Research Center, Quebec, Quebec, Canada


To further our understanding of one-carbon metabolism in the protozoan parasite Leishmania, we conducted genomic screens to study how the parasite responded to sinefungin (SNF) selection. SNF is a structural analogue of S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet), a key methyl group donor to a number of biomolecules. One screen consisted of sequencing SNF-resistant mutants generated by stepwise selection with gradually increasing drug concentrations. These studies demonstrated deletion of the AdoMet transporter (AdoMetT1) by intergenic recombination as a crucial loss-of-function marker for SNF resistance. The second screen consisted of Cos-seq, a gain-of-function cosmid-based genomewide functional screen with increasing SNF concentration coupled to next-generation sequencing. Cosmids enriched in that screen and sequenced led to the identification of (i) the AdoMet synthetase (METK) as the major SNF target, (ii) an mRNA [(guanine-N7)-methyltransferase (CMT1)], (iii) a leucine carboxyl methyltransferase (LCMT), (iv) two tryparedoxin genes, and (v) two protein phosphatase regulatory genes. Further functional exploration indicated that LCMT interacts with one phosphatase catalytic subunit (PP2AC) and that mutation of the C-terminal leucine residue of PP2AC affects sinefungin susceptibility. These holistic screens led to the identification of transporters, biosynthetic genes, RNA and protein methyltransferases, as well as phosphatases linked to AdoMet-mediated functions in Leishmania IMPORTANCE The two main cellular metabolic one-carbon donors are reduced folates and S-adenosylmethionine, whose biosynthetic pathways have proven highly effective in chemotherapeutic interventions in various cell types. Sinefungin, a nucleoside analogue of S-adenosylmethionine, was shown to have potent activity against the protozoan parasite Leishmania Here, we studied resistance to sinefungin using whole-genome approaches as a way to further our understanding of the role of S-adenosylmethionine in this parasite and to reveal novel potential drug targets. These approaches allowed the characterization of novel features related to S-adenosylmethionine function in Leishmania which could further help in the development of sinefungin-like compounds against this pathogenic parasite.


Leishmania; S-adenosylmethionine; copy number variation; drug resistance mechanisms; methyltransferase; single-nucleotide variants; transporter

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