Label-Free Proteomic Analysis Reveals Parasite-Specific Protein Alterations in Macrophages Following Leishmania amazonensis, Leishmania major, or Leishmania infantum Infection

ACS Infect Dis. 2019 Jun 14;5(6):851-862. doi: 10.1021/acsinfecdis.8b00338. Epub 2019 Apr 23.


Leishmania is an obligate intracellular parasite known to modulate the host cell to survive and proliferate. However, the complexity of host-parasite interactions remains unclear. Also, the outcome of the disease has been recognized to be species-specific and dependent on the host's immune responses. Proteomics has emerged as a powerful tool to investigate the host-pathogen interface, allowing us to deepen our knowledge about infectious diseases. Quantification of the relative amount of proteins in a sample can be achieved using label-free proteomics, and for the first time, we have used it to quantify Leishmania-specific protein alterations in macrophages. Protein extracts were obtained and digested, and peptides were identified and quantified using nano-LC coupled with tandem mass spectrometry analyses. Protein expression was validated by Western blot analysis. Integrated Proteomics Pipeline was used for peptide/protein identification and for quantification and data processing. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis was used for network analysis. In this work, we investigated how this intracellular parasite modulates protein expression on a host macrophage by comparing three different Leishmania species- L. amazonensis, one of the causative agents of cutaneous disease in the Amazon region; L. major, another causative agent of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Africa, the Middle East, China, and India; L. infantum, the causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis affecting humans and dogs in Latin America-and lipopolysaccharide stimulated macrophages as an in vitro inflammation model. Our results revealed that Leishmania infection downregulates apoptosis pathways while upregulating the activation of phagocytes/leukocytes and lipid accumulation.

Keywords: host−pathogen interaction; label-free proteomics; leishmaniasis; mass spectrometry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Host-Parasite Interactions*
  • Leishmania braziliensis
  • Leishmania infantum
  • Leishmania major
  • Leishmaniasis / immunology*
  • Macrophages / parasitology*
  • Mice
  • Protein Interaction Maps
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry