Developmentally regulated expression by Trypanosoma cruzi of molecules that accelerate the decay of complement C3 convertases.

M. T. Rimoldi, A. Sher, S. Heiny, A. Lituchy, C. H. Hammer, Keith A Joiner

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We recently showed that culture-derived metacyclic trypomastigotes (CMT), but not epimastigotes (Epi), of the Miranda 88 strain of Trypanosoma cruzi evade lysis by the human alternative complement pathway because of inefficient binding of factor B to complement component C3b on the parasite surface. These results suggested that CMT and tissue-culture-derived trypomastigotes (TCT), which also activate the alternative pathway poorly, might produce a molecule capable of interfering with factor B binding to C3b. We now demonstrate that CMT and TCT lysates, as well as molecules spontaneously shed from CMT and TCT but not Epi, accelerate decay of 125I-labeled factor Bb from the alternative-pathway C3 convertase (C3bBb) assembled on zymosan or Epi and also accelerate decay of the classical-pathway C3 convertase (C4b2a) on sheep erythrocytes. Parasites metabolically labeled with [35S]methionine spontaneously shed a limited number of radioactive components ranging in molecular mass from 86 to 155 kDa for trypomastigotes and 25 to 80 kDa for Epi. Decay-accelerating activity within supernatants is inactivated by papain and is coeluted with 35S-containing polypeptides on FPLC anion-exchange chromatography, suggesting that the active constituents are protein molecules. Molecules with decay-accelerating activity may explain the developmentally regulated resistance to complement-mediated lysis in infective and vertebrate stages of the T. cruzi life cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-197
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1988
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Genetics

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