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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Leishmania spp.: mechanisms of toxicity of nitrogen oxidation products.

Intracellular killing of Leishmania parasites within activated murine macrophages is thought to result from the toxic activities of nitrogen oxidation products (referred to as NO) released by the activated cells. In order to determine possible mechanisms of NO toxicity for these microorganisms, promastigotes of Leishmania major and Leishmania enriettii were exposed to NO generated chemically from acidified nitrite, S-nitrosocysteine, diethylamine NONOate, or nitroprusside. Treatment with these agents led to loss of viability (as determined from decreased motility and inhibition of [3H]TdR uptake upon reincubation in NO-free medium) with kinetics characteristic for each compound L. major was less sensitive to these effects than L. enriettii, and amastigotes displayed the same sensitivity as promastigotes of the same species. The early effects of NO toxicity could be detected within minutes of exposure to the NO donors; they included decreased respiration rate and inhibition of glucose, proline, and adenine incorporation. Inhibition of the activities of glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase and of aconitase were also evidenced. In order to determine whether these phenomena reflected the mechanisms of toxicity of bona fide NO generated by macrophages, promastigotes were exposed to IFN-gamma + LPS-activated macrophages across permeable membranes. This resulted in marked inhibition of proline and adenine uptake in the parasites, which was restored, however, to control levels when macrophages were activated in the presence of the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor NGMMA. These results indicate that several cellular targets may be subject to NO toxicity in Leishmania parasites, including enzymes of glycolysis and respiratory metabolism as well as trans-membrane transport systems.[1]


  1. Leishmania spp.: mechanisms of toxicity of nitrogen oxidation products. Mauël, J., Ransijn, A. Exp. Parasitol. (1997) [Pubmed]
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