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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 305239, 11 pages
Research Article

Gene Expression Changes Induced by Trypanosoma cruzi Shed Microvesicles in Mammalian Host Cells: Relevance of tRNA-Derived Halves

1Functional Genomics Unit, Institut Pasteur de Montevideo, Mataojo 2020, 11400 Montevideo, Uruguay
2Laboratório de Biologia Celular e Ultraestrutura, Instituto de Microbiologia Paulo de Góes, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Cidade Universitária, Ilha do Fundão, 21941-590 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
3Laboratório de Ultraestrutura Celular Hertha Meyer, Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Avenue Carlos Chagas Filho 373, 21941-902 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
4Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Avenida Italia s/n, 11600 Montevideo, Uruguay

Received 5 December 2013; Accepted 1 March 2014; Published 9 April 2014

Academic Editor: Marlene Benchimol

Copyright © 2014 Maria R. Garcia-Silva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


At present, noncoding small RNAs are recognized as key players in novel forms of posttranscriptional gene regulation in most eukaryotes. However, canonical small RNA pathways seem to be lost or excessively simplified in some unicellular organisms including Trypanosoma cruzi which lack functional RNAi pathways. Recently, we reported the presence of alternate small RNA pathways in T. cruzi mainly represented by homogeneous populations of tRNA- and rRNA-derived small RNAs, which are secreted to the extracellular medium included in extracellular vesicles. Extracellular vesicle cargo could be delivered to other parasites and to mammalian susceptible cells promoting metacyclogenesis and conferring susceptibility to infection, respectively. Here we analyzed the changes in gene expression of host HeLa cells induced by extracellular vesicles from T. cruzi. As assessed by microarray assays a large set of genes in HeLa cells were differentially expressed upon incorporation of T. cruzi-derived extracellular vesicles. The elicited response modified mainly host cell cytoskeleton, extracellular matrix, and immune responses pathways. Some genes were also modified by the most abundant tRNA-derived small RNAs included in extracellular vesicles. These data suggest that microvesicles secreted by T. cruzi could be relevant players in early events of the T. cruzi host cell interplay.