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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1983 Jul 29;758(2):104-13.

African trypanosomes contain calmodulin which is distinct from host calmodulin.


Studies were initiated to determine whether African trypanosomes utilize Ca2+ fluxes to coordinate complex morphological and biochemical life cycle changes. We have identified the ubiquitous intracellular Ca2+ receptor, calmodulin, in two developmental stages of Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense. The transition from rapidly dividing, slender bloodstream trypomastigotes to slow growing procyclics in axenic culture was accompanied by changes in specific calmodulin content (3 micrograms/mg cell protein to 1 microgram/mg cell protein, respectively) and a shift in intracellular calmodulin distribution, Trypanosome calmodulin is physically and functionally distinct from that of host tissues, including bovine brain and rat erythrocytes. It is similar to but distinct from Tetrahymena calmodulin. Comparisons among these proteins isolated from the four sources were made using the following criteria: (1) mobility on sodium dodecyl sulfate discontinuous polyacrylamide gels; (2) Ca2+-induced conformational changes; (3) CNBr-cleavage fragments; (4) activation of bovine brain cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase in both a Ca2+-dependent and calmodulin-dependent manner; (5) activation of human erythrocyte (Ca2+ + Mg2+)-ATPase; and (6) inhibition of calmodulin activity by trifluoperazine and penfluridol. Trifluoperazine but not trifluoperazine sulfoxide was cytotoxic to trypanosomes in vitro. Half maximal effect occurred at 15 microM. We conclude that calmodulin is a functional component of Africal trypanosomes and suggest that it plays an important role in mediating the host-parasite relationship.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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