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Biochim Biophys Acta Biomembr May 1, 2017; 1859 (5): 679-685.

Aquaglyceroporins Are the Entry Pathway of Boric Acid in Trypanosoma brucei.

Marsiccobetre S , Rodríguez-Acosta A , Lang F , Figarella K , Uzcátegui NL .

The boron element possesses a range of different effects on living beings. It is essential to beneficial at low concentrations, but toxic at excessive concentrations. Recently, some boron-based compounds have been identified as promising molecules against Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of sleeping sickness. However, until now, the boron metabolism and its access route into the parasite remained elusive. The present study addressed the permeability of T. brucei aquaglyceroporins (TbAQPs) for boric acid, the main natural boron species. To this end, the three TbAQPs were expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Xenopus laevis oocytes. Our findings in both expression systems showed that all three TbAQPs are permeable for boric acid. Especially TbAQP2 is highly permeable for this compound, displaying one of the highest conductances reported for a solute in these channels. Additionally, T. brucei aquaglyceroporin activities were sensitive to pH. Taken together, these results establish that TbAQPs are channels for boric acid and are highly efficient entry pathways for boron into the parasite. Our findings stress the importance of studying the physiological functions of boron and their derivatives in T. brucei, as well as the pharmacological implications of their uptake by trypanosome aquaglyceroporins.

PubMed ID: 28087364
Article link: Biochim Biophys Acta Biomembr

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