Entamoeba histolytica, the causative agent of amoebiasis, possesses the dithiol-containing redox proteins Trx (thioredoxin) and TrxR (Trx reductase). Both proteins were found to be covalently modified and inactivated by metronidazole, a 5-nitroimidazole drug that is commonly used to treat infections with microaerophilic protozoan parasites in humans. Currently, very little is known about enzymes and other proteins participating in the Trx-dependent redox network of the parasite that could be indirectly affected by metronidazole treatment. On the basis of the disulfide/dithiol-exchange mechanism we constructed an active-site mutant of Trx, capable of binding interacting proteins as a stable mixed disulfide intermediate to screen the target proteome of Trx in E. histolytica. By applying Trx affinity chromatography, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and MS, peroxiredoxin and 15 further potentially redox-regulated proteins were identified. Among them, EhSat1 (E. histolytica serine acetyltransferase-1), an enzyme involved in the L-cysteine biosynthetic pathway, was selected for detailed analysis. Binding of Trx to EhSat1 was verified by Far-Western blot analysis. Trx was able to restore the activity of the oxidatively damaged EhSat1 suggesting that the TrxR/Trx system protects sensitive proteins against oxidative stress in E. histolytica. Furthermore, the activity of peroxiredoxin, which is dependent on a functioning TrxR/Trx system, was strongly reduced in metronidazole-treated parasites.

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