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Mol Microbiol. 1997 Apr;24(2):421-9.

Host-cell cyclophilin is important for the intracellular replication of Leishmania major.

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Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Erlangen-N├╝rnberg, Germany.


The antiparasitic effects of cyclosporin A were examined in leishmanial infection by analysing the role of CsA-binding proteins (cyclophilins) in the host-parasite interaction. We hypothesized that the leishmanicidal effects of CsA on Leishmania major infected macrophages might be mediated through a cyclophilin of either the parasite or the host cell. Two cyclophilins (20 and 22 kDa) were purified from L. major parasites and N-terminally sequenced. Although enzyme activity of these cyclophilins was inhibited by CsA, pretreatment of L. major parasites with CsA did not result in reduction of a subsequent macrophage infection, arguing against a role of L. major cyclophilins as infectivity potentiators. However, host-cell cyclophilin A (CypA) was found to be critically involved in the intracellular replication of L. major parasites in murine macrophages. An antisense oligonucleotide to murine CypA was constructed and added to cultures of peritoneal macrophages prior to infection with L. major parasites. This treatment strongly reduced the expression of CypA in macrophages and resulted in the inhibition of the intracellular replication of L. major amastigotes. These data indicate that interaction of amastigotes with host-cell cyclophilin is an important part of the intracellular replication machinery of L. major and define, for the first time, a direct involvement of a cyclophilin in the survival strategies of an intracellular parasite.

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