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Prokineticin receptor identified by phage display is an entry receptor for Trypanosoma cruzi into mammalian cells


Trypanosoma cruzi trypomastigotes invade a great variety of mammalian cells, with several molecules being implicated in this complex event. Herein, the sequence GGIALAG present in prokineticin-2 receptor (PKR2), selected by phage display technology, is described as a new T. cruzi receptor for the Tc85 group of glycoproteins belonging to the gp85/TS superfamily and involved in cellular invasion of mammalian hosts. This finding is confirmed by the inhibitory activity of MCF10-A (human mammary) cell invasion by T. cruzi either by anti-PKR2 antibodies (77 %) or GGIALAG-synthetic peptide (42 %). Furthermore, interference RNA (iRNA) inhibition of PKR2 expression in MCF10-A cells reduces T. cruzi invasion by 50 %. The binding site of Tc85 to PKR2 was localized at the C-terminal end of the molecule, upstream of the conserved FLY sequence, previously implicated in parasite cell invasion. PKR2, a receptor formed by seven membrane-spanning α-helical segments, is mainly present in the central nervous system, peripheral organs, and mature blood cells. Due to its wide distribution, PKR2 could be a suitable receptor for T. cruzi natural infection, contributing to the parasite dissemination throughout the mammalian organism. These findings augment the number and diversity of possible in vivo receptors for T. cruzi and reassure the multiplicity of Tc85 binding sites to mammalian hosts.

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This work was supported by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP, grant # 2012/50188-3) and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq). We are indebted to Drs. Renata Pasqualini and Ricardo Giordano for kindly providing the CX7C-phage display library, to Dr. Richard Garratt for helpful discussions, and to Dr. Ricardo Giordano for critically reading the manuscript.

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Correspondence to M. J. M. Alves.

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Khusal and Tonelli contributed equally to this article.

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Khusal, K.G., Tonelli, R.R., Mattos, E.C. et al. Prokineticin receptor identified by phage display is an entry receptor for Trypanosoma cruzi into mammalian cells. Parasitol Res 114, 155–165 (2015).

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  • Prokineticin-2 receptor
  • T. cruzi invasion
  • Phage display
  • iRNA