Genomic organization, chromosomal localization, and developmentally regulated expression of the glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C of Trypanosoma brucei

Kojo Mensa-Wilmot, Dale Hereld, Paul T. Englund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The surface of the bloodstream form of the African trypanosome, Trypanosoma brucei, is covered with about 107 molecules of the variant surface glycoprotein (VSG), a protein tethered to the plasma membrane by a glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol (GPI) membrane anchor. This anchor is cleavable by an endogenous GPI-specific phospholipase C (GPI-PLC). GPI-PLC activity is down regulated when trypanosomes differentiate from the bloodstream form to the procyclic form found in the tsetse fly vector. We have mapped the GPI-PLC locus in the trypanosome genome and have examined the mechanism for this developmental regulation in T. brucei. Southern blot analysis indicates a single-copy gene for GPI-PLC, with two allelic variants distinguishable by two NcoI restriction fragment length polymorphisms. The gene was localized solely to a chromosome in the two-megabase compression region by contour-clamped homogeneous electric field gel electrophoresis. No rearrangement of the GPI-PLC gene occurs during differentiation to procyclic forms, which could potentially silence GPI-PLC gene expression. Enzymological studies give no indication of a diffusible inhibitor of GPI-PLC activity in procyclic forms, and Western immunoblot analysis reveals no detectable GPI-PLC polypeptide in these forms. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the absence of GPI-PLC activity in procyclic forms is due to posttranslational control. Northern (RNA) blot analysis reveals barely detectable levels of GPI-PLC mRNA in procyclic forms; therefore, regulation of GPI-PLC activity in these forms correlates with the steady-state mRNA level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)720-726
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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