The vacuolar zinc transporter TgZnT protects Toxoplasma gondii from zinc toxicity

Nathan M. Chasen, Andrew J. Stasic, Beejan Asady, Isabelle Coppens, Silvia N.J. Moreno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Zinc (Zn2+) is the most abundant biological metal ion aside from iron and is an essential element in numerous biological systems, acting as a cofactor for a large number of enzymes and regulatory proteins. Zn2+ must be tightly regulated, as both the deficiency and overabundance of intracellular free Zn2+ are harmful to cells. Zn2+ transporters (ZnTs) play important functions in cells by reducing intracellular Zn2+ levels by transporting the ion out of the cytoplasm. We characterized a Toxoplasma gondii gene (TgGT1_251630, TgZnT), which is annotated as the only ZnT family Zn2+ transporter in T. gondii. TgZnT localizes to novel vesicles that fuse with the plant-like vacuole (PLV), an endosome-like organelle. Mutant parasites lacking TgZnT exhibit reduced viability in in vitro assays. This phenotype was exacerbated by increasing zinc concentrations in the extracellular media and was rescued by media with reduced zinc. Heterologous expression of TgZnT in a Zn2+-sensitive Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast strain partially restored growth in media with higher Zn2+ concentrations. These results suggest that TgZnT transports Zn2+ into the PLV and plays an important role in the Zn2+ tolerance of T. gondii extracellular tachyzoites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00086-19
JournalmSphere
Volume4
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2019

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Keywords

  • Toxoplasma gondii
  • Transporters
  • Zinc transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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