Effects of a novel β–lapachone derivative on Trypanosoma cruzi: Parasite death involving apoptosis, autophagy and necrosis
The trypanosomatids Leishmania amazonensis and Trypanosoma cruzi are excellent models for the study of the cell biology of intracellular protozoan infections. After their uptake by mammalian cells, the parasitic protozoan flagellates L. amazonensis and T. cruzi lodge within acidified parasitophorous vacuoles (PVs). However, whereas L. amazonensis develops in spacious, phagolysosome-like PVs that may enclose numerous parasites, T. cruzi is transiently hosted within smaller vacuoles from which it soon escapes to the host cell cytosol. To investigate if parasite-specific vacuoles are required for the survival and differentiation of T. cruzi, we constructed chimeric vacuoles by infection of L. amazonensis amastigote-infected macrophages with T. cruzi epimastigotes (EPIs) or metacyclic trypomastigotes (MTs). These chimeric vacuoles, easily observed by microscopy, allowed the entry and fate of T. cruzi in L. amazonensis PVs to be dynamically recorded by multidimensional imaging of coinfected cells. We found that although T. cruzi EPIs remained motile and conserved their morphology in chimeric vacuoles, T. cruzi MTs differentiated into amastigote-like forms capable of multiplying. These results demonstrate that the large adaptive vacuoles of L. amazonensis are permissive to T. cruzi survival and differentiation and that noninfective EPIs are spared from destruction within the chimeric PVs. We conclude that T. cruzi differentiation can take place in Leishmania-containing vacuoles, suggesting this occurs prior to their escape into the host cell cytosol.