Leishmania dual specificity tyrosine regulated kinase 1 (DYRK1) is required for sustaining Leishmania stationary phase phenotype

Vinícius Pinto Costa Rocha, Mariko Dacher, Simon Alan Young, Foteini Kolokousi, Antonia Efstathiou, Gerald Frank Späth, Milena Botelho Pereira Soares, Despina Smirlis

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Although the multiplicative and growth‐arrested states play key roles in Leishmania development, the regulators of these transitions are largely unknown. In an attempt to gain a better understanding of these processes, we characterised one member of a family of protein kinases with dual specificity, LinDYRK1, which acts as a stasis regulator in other organisms. LinDYRK1 over‐expressing parasites displayed a decrease in proliferation and in cell cycle re‐entry of arrested cells. Parasites lacking LinDYRK1 displayed distinct fitness phenotypes in logarithmic and stationary growth phases. In logarithmic growth‐phase, LinDYRK1‐/‐ parasites proliferated better than control lines, supporting a role of this kinase in stasis, while in stationary growth‐phase, LinDYRK1‐/‐ parasites had important defects as they rounded up, accumulated vacuoles and lipid bodies and displayed subtle but consistent differences in lipid composition. Moreover, they expressed less metacyclic‐enriched transcripts, displayed increased sensitivity to complement lysis and a significant reduction in survival within peritoneal macrophages. The distinct LinDYRK1‐/‐ growth phase phenotypes were mirrored by the distinct LinDYRK1 localisations in logarithmic (mainly in flagellar pocket area and endosomes) and late stationary phase (mitochondrion). Overall, this work provides first evidence for the role of a DYRK family member in sustaining promastigote stationary phase phenotype and infectivity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Microbiology
VolumeEarly View
Early online date11 Feb 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Feb 2020


  • DYRK1
  • Growth
  • Kinase
  • Leishmania
  • Stationary


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