Trypanosoma brucei parasites occupy and functionally adapt to the adipose tissue in mice
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Trypanosoma brucei is an extracellular parasite that causes sleeping sickness. In mammalian hosts, trypanosomes are thought to exist in two major niches: early in infection, they populate the blood; later, they breach the blood-brain barrier. Working with a well-established mouse model, we discovered that adipose tissue constitutes a third major reservoir for T. brucei. Parasites from adipose tissue, here termed adipose tissue forms (ATFs), can replicate and were capable of infecting a naive animal. ATFs were transcriptionally distinct from bloodstream forms, and the genes upregulated included putative fatty acid β-oxidation enzymes. Consistent with this, ATFs were able to utilize exogenous myristate and form β-oxidation intermediates, suggesting that ATF parasites can use fatty acids as an external carbon source. These findings identify the adipose tissue as a niche for T. brucei during its mammalian life cycle and could potentially explain the weight loss associated with sleeping sickness.
Trindade , S , Rijo-Ferreira , F , Carvalho , T , Pinto-Neves , D , Guegan , F , Aresta-Branco , F , Bento , F , Young , S A , Pinto , A , Van Den Abbeele , J , Ribeiro , R M , Dias , S , Smith , T K & Figueiredo , L M 2016 , ' Trypanosoma brucei parasites occupy and functionally adapt to the adipose tissue in mice ' Cell Host & Microbe , vol 19 , no. 6 , pp. 837-848 . , 10.1016/j.chom.2016.05.002
Cell Host & Microbe
© 2016 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
This work was supported by 55007419 (HHMI) and 2151 (EMBO) to L.M.F., D.P.-N., F.B., and F.G.; FCT fellowships to S.T., F.R.-F., and F.A.-B. (SFRH/BPD/89833/2012, SFRH/BD/51286/2010, and SFRH/BD/80718/2011, respectively); Wellcome Trust grant (093228), MRC MR/M020118/1, and European Community Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement No. 602773 (Project KINDRED) to S.A.Y. and T.K.S.; and PAI 7/41 (Belspo) and ERC-NANOSYM to J.V.D.A.
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