Transcriptional dynamics in the protozoan parasite Sarcocystis neurona and mammalian host cells after treatment with a specific inhibitor of apicomplexan mRNA polyadenylation

Arthur G. Hunt, Daniel K. Howe, Ashley Brown, Michelle Yeargan

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4 Scopus citations

Abstract

In recent years, a class of chemical compounds (benzoxaboroles) that are active against a range of parasites has been shown to target mRNA polyadenylation by inhibiting the activity of CPSF73, the endonucleolytic core of the eukaryotic polyadenylation complex. One particular compound, termed AN3661, is active against several apicomplexan parasites that cause disease in humans. In this study, we report that AN3661 is active against an apicomplexan that causes disease in horses and marine mammals (Sarcocystis neurona), with an approximate IC50 value of 14.99 nM. Consistent with the reported mode of action of AN3661 against other apicomplexans, S. neurona mutants resistant to AN3661 had an alteration in CPSF73 that was identical to a mutation previously documented in AN3661-resistant Toxoplasma gondii and Plasmodium falciparum. AN3661 had a wide-ranging effect on poly(A) site choice in S. neurona, with more than half of all expressed genes showing some alteration in mRNA 3’ ends. This was accompanied by changes in the relative expression of more than 25% of S. neurona genes and an overall 5-fold reduction of S. neurona transcripts in infected cells. In contrast, AN3661 had no discernible effect on poly(A) site choice or gene expression in the host cells. These transcriptomic studies indicate that AN3661 is exceedingly specific for the parasite CPSF73 protein, and has the potential to augment other therapies for the control of apicomplexan parasites in domestic animals.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0259109
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume16
Issue number10 October
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Hunt et al. 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.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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