Regulatory volume decrease in Trypanosoma cruzi involves amino acid efflux and changes in intracellular calcium

Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2003 Feb;126(2):219-30. doi: 10.1016/s0166-6851(02)00277-3.


A regulatory volume decrease (RVD) in response to hyposmotic stress has been characterized in different life-cycle stages of Trypanosoma cruzi. Hyposmotic stress initially caused swelling, but this was rapidly reversed by a compensatory volume reversal that was essentially complete by 5 min. Volume recovery was associated with an amino acid efflux that accounted for approximately 50% of the regulatory volume decrease in all three life-cycle stages. The amino acid efflux was selective for neutral and anionic amino acids, but excluded cationic amino acids. Acidocalcisomes contained an amino acid pool over four times more concentrated than whole-cell levels, but about 90% of this was composed of Arg and Lys, so involvement of this pool in amino acid efflux was ruled out. Hyposmotic stress induced a rise in intracellular calcium that was dependent on influx of calcium across the plasma membrane, since chelation of extracellular calcium abolished the response. Influx of calcium was confirmed by demonstration of manganese-mediated quenching of intracellular fura-2 fluorescence and partial inhibition of the rise in calcium by calcium channel blockers. Manipulation of intra- and extracellular calcium levels had minor effects on the initial rate of amino acid efflux and no effect on the rate of volume recovery.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Calcium / physiology*
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Cell Size / physiology
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Kinetics
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / cytology*
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / physiology*


  • Amino Acids
  • Calcium