Lysosomal degradation of Leishmania hexose and inositol transporters is regulated in a stage-, nutrient- and ubiquitin-dependent manner

James E. Vince, Dedreia Tull, Scott Landfear, Malcolm J. McConville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Leishmania parasites experience variable nutrient levels as they cycle between the extracellular promastigote stage in the sandfly vector and the obligate intracellular amastigote stage in the mammalian host. Here we show that the surface expression of three Leishmania mexicana hexose and myo-inositol transporters is regulated in both a stage-specific and nutrient-dependent manner. GFP-chimeras of functionally active hexose transporters, LmGT2 and LmGT3, and the myo-inositol transporter, MIT, were primarily expressed in the cell body plasma membrane in rapidly dividing promastigote stages. However MIT-GFP was mostly rerouted to the multivesicular tubule (MVT)-lysosome when promastigotes reached stationary phase growth and all three nutrient transporters were targeted to the amastigote lysosome following transformation to in vitro differentiated or in vivo imaged amastigote stages. This stage-specific decrease in surface expression of GFP-tagged transporters correlated with decreased hexose or myo-inositol uptake in stationary phase promastigotes and amastigotes. The MVT-lysosme targeting of the MIT-GFP protein was reversed when promastigotes were deprived of myo-inositol, indicating that nutrient signals can override stage-specific changes in transporter distribution. The surface expression of the hexose and myo. -inositol transporters was not regulated by interactions with the subpellicular cytoskeleton, as both classes of transporters associated with detergent-resistant membranes. LmGT3-GFP and MIT-GFP proteins C-terminally modified with mono-ubiquitin were constitutively transported to the MVT-lysosome, suggesting that ubiquitination may play a key role in regulating the subcellular distribution of these transporters and parasite adaptation to different nutrient conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-800
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Glucose
  • Hexose
  • Inositol
  • Leishmania
  • Lysosome
  • Transporter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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