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Enzyme Research
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 657460, 10 pages
Research Article

Trypanosoma cruzi Coexpressing Ornithine Decarboxylase and Green Fluorescence Proteins as a Tool to Study the Role of Polyamines in Chagas Disease Pathology

1Fundación Instituto Leloir-(FIL-IIBBA-) CONICET and Departamento de Química Biológica, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, 1428 Buenos Aires, Argentina
2Laboratorio de Biología Celular y Molecular, Instituto de Histología y Embriología-(IHEM-) CONICET, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, 5500 Mendoza, Argentina

Received 16 December 2010; Revised 24 February 2011; Accepted 11 March 2011

Academic Editor: Claudio Alejandro Pereira

Copyright © 2011 Jeremías José Barclay 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.


Polyamines are essential for Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease. As T. cruzi behaves as a natural auxotrophic organism, it relies on host polyamines biosynthesis. In this paper we obtained a double-transfected T. cruzi parasite that expresses the green fluorescent protein (GFP) and a heterologous ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), used itself as a novel selectable marker. These autotrophic and fluorescent parasites were characterized; the ODC presented an apparent Km for ornithine of 0.51 ± 0.16 mM and an estimated Vmax value of 476.2 nmoles/h/mg of protein. These expressing ODC parasites showed higher metacyclogenesis capacity than the auxotrophic counterpart, supporting the idea that polyamines are engaged in this process. This double-transfected T. cruzi parasite results in a powerful tool—easy to follow by its fluorescence—to study the role of polyamines in Chagas disease pathology and in related processes such as parasite survival, invasion, proliferation, metacyclogenesis, and tissue spreading.