Trypanosoma brucei metabolite indolepyruvate decreases HIF-1α and glycolysis in macrophages as a mechanism of innate immune evasion
Published on Nov 29, 2016in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America9.58
· DOI :10.1073/pnas.1608221113
Abstract The parasite Trypanasoma brucei causes African trypanosomiasis, known as sleeping sickness in humans and nagana in domestic animals. These diseases are a major burden in the 36 sub-Saharan African countries where the tsetse fly vector is endemic. Untreated trypanosomiasis is fatal and the current treatments are stage-dependent and can be problematic during the meningoencephalitic stage, where no new therapies have been developed in recent years and the current drugs have a low therapeutic index. There is a need for more effective treatments and a better understanding of how these parasites evade the host immune response will help in this regard. The bloodstream form of T. brucei excretes significant amounts of aromatic ketoacids, including indolepyruvate, a transamination product of tryptophan. This study demonstrates that this process is essential in bloodstream forms, is mediated by a specialized isoform of cytoplasmic aminotransferase and, importantly, reveals an immunomodulatory role for indolepyruvate. Indolepyruvate prevents the LPS-induced glycolytic shift in macrophages. This effect is the result of an increase in the hydroxylation and degradation of the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α). The reduction in HIF-1α levels by indolepyruvate, following LPS or trypanosome activation, results in a decrease in production of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1β. These data demonstrate an important role for indolepyruvate in immune evasion by T. brucei.