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ItemTrypanosoma cruzi infection at the maternal-fetal interface : implications of parasite load in the congenital transmission and challenges in the diagnosis of infected newborns(Frontiers, 2019-6-7)Trypanosoma cruzi is the protozoan unicellular parasite that causes Chagas disease. It can be transmitted from infected mothers to their babies via the connatal route, thus being able to perpetuate even in the absence of Triatomine insect vectors. Chagas disease was originally endemic in Central and South America, but migration of infected women of childbearing age has spread the T. cruzi congenital infection to non-endemic areas like North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia. Currently, 7 million people are affected by this infection worldwide. This review focuses on the relevance of the T. cruzi parasite levels in different aspects of the congenital T. cruzi infection such as the mother-to-child transmission rate, the maternal and fetal immune response, and its impact on the diagnosis of infected newborns. Improvements in detection of this parasite, with tools that can be easily adapted to be used in remote rural areas, will make the early diagnosis of infected children possible, allowing a prompt trypanocidal treatment and avoiding the current loss of opportunities for the diagnosis of 100% of T. cruzi congenitally infected infants
ItemTransmigration of Trypanosoma cruzi trypomastigotes through 3D cultures resembling a physiological environment(Wiley, 2020)To disseminate and colonise tissues in the mammalian host, Trypanosoma cruzi trypomastogotes should cross several biological barriers. How this process occurs or its impact in the outcome of the disease is largely speculative. We examined the in vitro transmigration of trypomastigotes through three-dimensional cultures (spher oids) to understand the tissular dissemination of different T. cruzi strains. Virulent strains were highly invasive: trypomastigotes deeply transmigrate up to 50 µm inside spheroids and were evenly distributed at the spheroid surface. Parasites inside spher oids were systematically observed in the space between cells suggesting a para cellular route of transmigration. On the contrary, poorly virulent strains presented a weak migratory capacity and remained in the external layers of spheroids with a patch-like distribution pattern. The invasiveness—understood as the ability to trans migrate deep into spheroids—was not a transferable feature between strains, neither by soluble or secreted factors nor by co-cultivation of trypomastigotes from invasive and non-invasive strains. Besides, we demonstrated that T. cruzi isolates from chil dren that were born congenitally infected presented a highly migrant phenotype while an isolate from an infected mother (that never transmitted the infection to any of her children) presented significantly less migration. In brief, we demonstrated that in a 3D microenvironment each strain presents a characteristic migration pattern that can be associated to their in vivo behaviour. Altogether, data presented here repositionate spheroids as a valuable tool to study host–pathogen interactions.
ItemA functional analysis of the cyclophilin repertoire in the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi(MDPI, 2018-10-31)Trypanosoma cruzi is the etiological agent of Chagas disease. It affects eight million people worldwide and can be spread by several routes, such as vectorborne transmission in endemic areas and congenitally, and is also important in non-endemic regions such as the United States and Europe due to migration from Latin America. Cyclophilins (CyPs) are proteins with enzymatic peptidyl-prolyl isomerase activity (PPIase), essential for protein folding in vivo. Cyclosporin A (CsA) has a high binding affinity for CyPs and inhibits their PPIase activity. CsA has proved to be a parasiticidal drug on some protozoa, including T. cruzi. In this review, we describe the T. cruzi cyclophilin gene family, that comprises 15 paralogues. Among the proteins isolated by CsA-affinity chromatography, we found orthologues of mammalian CyPs. TcCyP19, as the human CyPA, is secreted to the extracellular environment by all parasite stages and could be part of a complex interplay involving the parasite and the host cell. TcCyP22, an orthologue of mitochondrial CyPD, is involved in the regulation of parasite cell death. Our findings on T. cruzi cyclophilins will allow further characterization of these processes, leading to new insights into the biology, the evolution of metabolic pathways, and novel targets for anti-T. cruzi contro