Transcriptomics Indicates Active and Passive Metronidazole Resistance Mechanisms in Three Seminal Giardia Lines
The nitrothiazole analogue nitazoxanide [NTZ; 2-acetolyloxy-N-(5-nitro-2-thiazolyl)benzamide] represents the parent compound of a class of drugs referred to as thiazolides and exhibits a broad spectrum of activities against a wide variety of helminths, protozoa, and enteric bacteria infecting animals and humans. NTZ and other thiazolides are active against a wide range of other intracellular and extracellular protozoan parasites in vitro and in vivo, but their mode of action and respective subcellular target(s) have only recently been investigated. In order to identify potential targets of NTZ and other thiazolides in Giardia lamblia trophozoites, we have developed an affinity chromatography system using the deacetylated derivative of NTZ, tizoxanide (TIZ), as a ligand. Affinity chromatography on TIZ-agarose using cell extracts of G. lamblia trophozoites resulted in the isolation of an approximately 35-kDa polypeptide, which was identified by mass spectrometry as a nitroreductase (NR) homologue (EAA43030.1). NR was overexpressed as a six-histidine-tagged recombinant protein in Escherichia coli, purified, and then characterized using an assay for oxygen-insensitive NRs with dinitrotoluene as a substrate. This demonstrated that the NR was functionally active, and the protein was designated GlNR1. In this assay system, NR activity was severely inhibited by NTZ and other thiazolides, demonstrating that the antigiardial activity of these drugs could be, at least partially, mediated through inhibition of GlNR1.