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Metabolomic profiling reveals a finely tuned, starvation-induced metabolic switch in Trypanosoma cruziepimastigotes

Barisón, María Julia; Rapado, Ludmila Nakamura; Merino, Emilio F.; Furusho Pral, Elizabeth Mieko; Mantilla, Brian Suarez; Marchese, Letícia; Nowicki, Cristina; Silber, Ariel Mariano; Cassera, Maria Belen

Metabolomic profiling reveals a finely tuned, starvation-induced metabolic switch in Trypanosoma cruziepimastigotes Thumbnail


María Julia Barisón

Ludmila Nakamura Rapado

Emilio F. Merino

Elizabeth Mieko Furusho Pral

Letícia Marchese

Cristina Nowicki

Ariel Mariano Silber

Maria Belen Cassera


Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of Chagas disease, is a protozoan parasite with a complex life cycle involving a triatomine insect and mammals. Throughout its life cycle, the T. cruzi parasite faces several alternating events of cell division and cell differentiation in which exponential and stationary growth phases play key biological roles. It is well accepted that arrest of the cell division in the epimastigote stage, both in the midgut of the triatomine insect and in vitro, is required for metacyclogenesis, and it has been previously shown that the parasites change the expression profile of several proteins when entering this quiescent stage. However, little is known about the metabolic changes that epimastigotes undergo before they develop into the metacyclic trypomastigote stage. We applied targeted metabolomics to measure the metabolic intermediates in the most relevant pathways for energy metabolism and oxidative imbalance in exponentially growing and stationary growth-arrested epimastigote parasites. We show for the first time that T. cruzi epimastigotes transitioning from the exponential to the stationary phase exhibit a finely tuned adaptive metabolic mechanism that enables switching from glucose to amino acid consumption, which is more abundant in the stationary phase. This metabolic plasticity appears to be crucial for survival of the T. cruzi parasite in the myriad different environmental conditions to which it is exposed during its life cycle.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Mar 29, 2017
Publication Date May 26, 2017
Deposit Date Sep 11, 2019
Publicly Available Date Sep 17, 2019
Journal Journal of Biological Chemistry
Print ISSN 0021-9258
Electronic ISSN 1083-351X
Publisher American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 292
Issue 21
Pages 8964-8977
Public URL


Published Journal Article (3.1 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This research was originally published in Journal of Biological Chemistry. Barisón, M.J., Rapado, L.N., Merino, E.F., Furusho Pral, E.M., Suarez Mantilla, B., Marchese, L. Nowicki, C., Silber, A.M. Cassera, M.B. Metabolomic profiling reveals a finely tuned, starvationinduced
metabolic switch in Trypanosoma cruzi
epimastigotes. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2017. 292(21): 8964-8977. © the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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