EXCEED THE SPACE PROVIDED. African trypanosomes are parasitic protozoa that cause sleeping sickness in humans. Little is known about lysosomal biogenesis in these ancient eukaryotes, p67 is an essential membrane glycoprotein located primarily in the lysosome, but also in the flagellar pocket and endosomes. It trafficks to the lysosome in a stage-specific manner, and in bloodstream cells its N-glycans are modified by synthesis of poly-lactosamine (pNAL) chains. In trypanosomes secretion and endocytosis obligately intersect in the flagellar pocket; as an essential protein that exists at this intersection p67 is a unique tool for studying how these critical processes shape lysosomal biogenesis and function. We will study of the signals and machinery of p67 targeting and its role in lysosomal structure/function. Our underlying hypotheses are: i) that p67 targeting is mediated by specific signals in its cytoplasmic domain; and ii) that p67 is essential for lysosomal biogenesis and function. This work will expand our understanding of the novel aspects of trypanosomal secretory/endocytic trafficking, and of mechanisms of protein targeting conserved over many millions of years of eukaryotic evolution.
In AIM #1 membrane protein reporters will be fused to the p67 cytoplasmic domain and mutagenesis will be used to identify the specific sequence motifs that mediate lysosomal targeting.
In AIM #2 the cytoplasmic domain will be used as bait to identify interactive proteins that are part of the p67 trafficking machinery. The cytoplasmic domain will be expressed in trypanosomes as a TAP-tag fusion and in situ complexes will be isolated by affinity chromatography. The cytoplasmic domain will also be used as genetic bait in a yeast two-hybrid screen to identify genes for interactive proteins.
In Aim #3 we will use RNAi silencing to examine the role of p67 in lysosomal function. Preliminary RNAi experiments indicate that p67 is an essential protein in bloodstream trypanosomes and our hypothesis is that p67 provides a protective glycocalyx against internal hydrolases and against potentially lytic host serum factors.
In Aim #4 we will employ chemical mutagenesis to generate cell lines deficient in synthesis of the unusual pNAL N-glycans that are found on p67 and other membrane proteins of the flagellar pocket/endosomal system in bloodstream parasites. Mutants will be selected for failure to endocytose fluorescent tomato lectin and then characterized for general deficiencies in lysosomal/endocytic processes, and for specific defects in p67 targeting and function. PERFORMANCE SITE ========================================Section End===========================================
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