Characterization of a 21kDa protein from Trypanosoma cruzi associated with mammalian cell invasion. Academic Article uri icon


  • Trypanosoma cruzi genomic database was screened for hypothetical proteins that showed high probability of being secreted or membrane anchored and thus, likely involved in host-cell invasion. A sequence that codes for a 21kDa protein that showed high probability of being secreted was selected. After cloning this protein sequence, the results showed that it was a ubiquitous protein and secreted by extracellular amastigotes. The recombinant form (P21-His(6)) adhered to HeLa cells in a dose-dependent manner. Pretreatment of host cells with P21-His(6) inhibited cell invasion by extracellular amastigotes from G and CL strains. On the other hand, when the protein was added to host cells at the same time as amastigotes, an increase in cell invasion was observed. Host-cell pretreatment with P21-His(6) augmented invasion by metacyclic trypomastigotes. Moreover, polyclonal antibody anti-P21 inhibited invasion only by extracellular amastigotes and metacyclic trypomastigotes from G strain. These results suggested that P21 might be involved in T. cruzi cell invasion. We hypothesize that P21 could be secreted in the juxtaposition parasite-host cell and triggers signaling events yet unknown that lead to parasite internalization.

publication date

  • April 2009