Differential expression of meiosis and homologous recombination-related genes in the life cycle of Trypanosoma cruzi

Lissa Cruz-Saavedra, Tatiana Caceres, Nathalia Ballesteros, Bernardo Posada-Forero, Juan David Ramírez

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Trypanosoma cruzi has a complex life cycle consisting of four morphological and distinct biological stages. Although some authors suggest that T. cruzi primarily follows clonal reproduction, recent genomic and transcriptomic studies indicate an unorthodox capacity for recombination. We aimed to estimate the differential gene expression of 10 meiosis/homologous recombination-related genes during the T. cruzi life cycle, including epimastigotes, under two different types of stress (oxidative stress and pH changes). We performed RT-qPCR tests using novel-designed primers to estimate the differential gene expression (∆Ct and ∆∆Ct) of nine genes (SPO11, HAP2, RAD50, MRN complex, BRCA2, DMC1, MND1, and RPA1) and RAD51, which was previously reported. Our results show basal expression of all genes during the life cycle, indicating their hypothetical role in several cellular processes but with specific signatures of differential gene expression during the life cycle (HAP2, RPA, RAD50, BRCA2, MND1, and DMC1) and oxidative stress (RPA, MRE11, NBS1, BRCA2, MND1, and RAD51). Additionally, we found that the MRN complex has an independent level of expression in T. cruzi, with profiles of MRE11 and NBS1 upregulated in some stages. Recent studies on other trypanosomatids have highlighted the influence of HAP2 and RPA in recombination and hybridization. If T. cruzi uses the same repertoire of genes, our findings could suggest that metacyclogenesis may be the putative step that the parasite uses to undergo recombination. Likewise, our study reveals the differential profiles of genes expressed in response to oxidative and pH stress. Further studies are necessary to confirm our findings and understand the recombination mechanism in T. cruzi.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1747-1757
Number of pages11
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • General Veterinary
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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