Potential role of autophagy in proteolysis in Trichomonas vaginalis

Kuo Yang Huang, Ruei Min Chen, Hsin Chung Lin, Wei Hung Cheng, Hsin An Lin, Wei Ning Lin, Po Jung Huang, Cheng Hsun Chiu, Petrus Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Autophagy has been shown to be involved in the pathogenesis of several protists, offering prospects for the developments of new drugs targeting autophagy. However, there is no evidence illustrating functional autophagy in the deep-branching trichomonads. The human parasitic protist Trichomonas vaginalis has been predicted to possess reduced autophagic machinery, with only autophagy-related protein 8 (Atg8) conjugation system required for autophagosome formation. Methods: The recombinant protein of TvAtg8 (rTvAtg8) and the polyclonal antibody against rTvAtg8 were generated. The expression and localization of TvAtg8 was monitored upon autophagy induction by glucose restriction (GR) compared with glucose-rich cultivation. The role of TvAtg8 in proteolysis was clarified. Results: Here, we report that T. vaginalis Atg8 (TvAtg8) is upregulated and conjugated to autophagosome-like vesicles upon autophagy induction by GR. Moreover, we investigate, for the first time, the role of autophagy in T. vaginalis. Proteasome inhibition (PI)-induced autophagy compensates for the removal of polyubiquitinated proteins under glucose-rich condition. GR-induced autophagy is a major proteolytic system in T. vaginalis. These results suggest that autophagy is vital for proteolysis in T. vaginalis with an impaired ubiquitin-proteasome system or under glucose-limited environment. Conclusion: Our findings unveiled previously unidentified functions of autophagy in proteostasis in trichomonads, advancing our understanding of this highly conserved process in the ancient eukaryote.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-344
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Microbiology, Immunology and Infection
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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