Inhibition of 19S proteasome deubiquitinating activity in Schistosoma mansoni affects viability, oviposition, and structural changes

Andressa Barban do Patrocinio, Fernanda Janku Cabral, André Luiz Brandão Bitencourt, Olinda Mara Brigato, Lizandra Guidi Magalhães, Lucas Antônio de Lima Paula, Larissa Franco, Renata Guerra-Sá and Vanderlei Rodrigues
Published online April 7, 2020  

ABSTRACT: The proteasome is the key player in the cellular protein degradation machinery and is pivotal for protein homeostasis and Schistosoma mansoni (S. mansoni) survival. Our group study provides insights into proteasome inhibitors and reveals that selective schistosomiasis agents represent an interesting branch of proteasome research linked to the development of new drugs for this neglected disease.

Here, we explored the phenotypic response of S. mansoni to b-AP15, a bis-benzylidine piperidone thatinhibits 26S proteasome  deubiquitinases (DUBs), ubiquitin-specific protease 14 (USP14), and ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase 5 (UCHL5). b-AP15 induces a modest decrease in egg production in vitro and reduces viability, leading to the death of parasite couples. This inhibitor also induces a twofold increase in the accumulation of polyubiquitinated proteins in S. mansoni adult worms and causes tegument changes such as disintegration, wrinkling, and bubble formation, both throughout the length of the parasite and in the oral sucker. b-AP15 alters the cell organelles of adult S. mansoni worms, and we specifically observed mitochondrial alterations, which are suggestive of proteotoxic stress leading to autophagy.

Taken together, these results indicate that the deubiquitinase function of the proteasome is essential for the parasite and support the hypothesis that the proteasome constitutes an interesting drug target for the treatment of schistosomiasis.

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