Characterization of Trypanosoma cruzi sirtuins as possible drug targets for Chagas disease

Nilmar Silvio Moretti, Leonardo Da Silva Augusto, Tatiana Mordente Clemente, Raysa Paes Pinto Antunes, Nobuko Yoshida, Ana Claudia Torrecilhas, Maria Isabel Nogueira Cano, Sergio Schenkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Acetylation of lysine is a major posttranslational modification of proteins and is catalyzed by lysine acetyltransferases, while lysine deacetylases remove acetyl groups. Among the deacetylases, the sirtuins are NAD+-dependent enzymes, which modulate gene silencing, DNA damage repair, and several metabolic processes. As sirtuin-specific inhibitors have been proposed as drugs for inhibiting the proliferation of tumor cells, in this study, we investigated the role of these inhibitors in the growth and differentiation of Trypanosoma cruzi, the agent of Chagas disease. We found that the use of salermide during parasite infection prevented growth and initial multiplication after mammalian cell invasion by T. cruzi at concentrations that did not affect host cell viability. In addition, in vivo infection was partially controlled upon administration of salermide. There are two sirtuins in T. cruzi, TcSir2rp1 and TcSir2rp3. By using specific antibodies and cell lines overexpressing the tagged versions of these enzymes, we found that TcSir2rp1 is localized in the cytosol and TcSir2rp3 in the mitochondrion. TcSir2rp1 overexpression acts to impair parasite growth and differentiation, whereas the wild-type version of TcSir2rp3 and not an enzyme mutated in the active site improves both. The effects observed with TcSir2rp3 were fully reverted by adding salermide, which inhibited TcSir2rp3 expressed in Escherichia coli with a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) ± standard error of 1 ± 0.5 μM. We concluded that sirtuin inhibitors targeting TcSir2rp3 could be used in Chagas disease chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4669-4679
Number of pages11
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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