Changes in properties of adenosine transporters in Trypanosoma evansi and modes of selection of resistance to the melaminophenyl arsenical drug, Mel Cy

Vet Parasitol. 2001 Dec 13;102(3):193-208. doi: 10.1016/s0304-4017(01)00533-7.


Resistance to arsenical drugs in trypanosomes has been linked to changes in adenosine uptake. The transport of melaminophenyl arsenicals into Trypanosoma brucei was shown to be mediated by an unusual adenosine nucleoside transporter, P2 (Carter and Fairlamb, 1993), and the loss of this transporter is associated with resistance to melaminophenyl arsenicals in these parasites. To further understand the mechanisms of arsenical resistance, we generated several lines of Mel Cy-resistant T. evansi from a drug-sensitive isolate using both in vivo and in vitro selection methods. Uptake of the melaminophenyl arsenical, Mel Cy on the P2 transporter was studied in the drug-sensitive as well as Mel Cy-resistant parasites, by means of inhibition of Mel Cy-induced lysis of trypanosomes, in an in vitro lysis assay. Adenosine uptake was also investigated using competition inhibition assays. Our study shows that T. evansi, TREU 1840, possesses the P1/P2 adenosine transport system as reported in T. brucei and T. equiperdum. However, in T. evansi, the P2 transporter is the larger transport process instead of the P1. The P2 transporter in T. evansi mediated the uptake of Mel Cy in the drug-sensitive parasites. The P2 was retained in all the arsenical-resistant T. evansi lines studied. However, the activity of the transporter was reduced to different extents in the different-resistant lines. The residual P2 activity related well to the levels of drug resistance in each line, suggesting that P2 activity could be an important marker for arsenical resistance. Furthermore, important differences were observed between the in vivo- and the in vitro-selected arsenical-resistant parasites suggesting that there may be differences in resistance phenotypes selected on the field.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenine / pharmacology
  • Adenosine / metabolism
  • Adenosine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Arsenicals / pharmacology*
  • Biological Transport
  • Biomarkers
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Diminazene / analogs & derivatives*
  • Diminazene / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Resistance
  • Inosine / pharmacology
  • Membrane Transport Proteins*
  • Nucleoside Transport Proteins
  • Parasitic Sensitivity Tests / veterinary
  • Trypanocidal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Trypanosoma / drug effects*
  • Trypanosoma / metabolism


  • Arsenicals
  • Biomarkers
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Nucleoside Transport Proteins
  • Trypanocidal Agents
  • adenosine transporter
  • Inosine
  • melaminylthioarsenate
  • Adenine
  • diminazene aceturate
  • Adenosine
  • Diminazene