Chemogenomic profiling of anti-leishmanial efficacy and resistance in the related kinetoplastid parasite Trypanosoma brucei
The arsenal of drugs used to treat leishmaniasis, caused by Leishmania spp., is limited and beset by toxicity and emergent resistance. Furthermore, our understanding of drug mode-of-action and potential routes to resistance is limited. Forward genetic approaches have revolutionised our understanding of drug mode-of-action in the related kinetoplastid parasite, Trypanosoma brucei. Therefore, we screened our genome-scale T. brucei RNAi library in the current anti-leishmanial drugs, sodium stibogluconate (antimonial), paromomycin, miltefosine and amphotericin-B. Identification of T. brucei orthologues of the known Leishmania antimonial and miltefosine plasma membrane transporters effectively validated our approach, while a cohort of 42 novel drug efficacy determinants provides new insights and serves as a resource. Follow-up analyses revealed the antimonial selectivity of the aquaglyceroporin, TbAQP3. A lysosomal major facilitator superfamily transporter contributes to paromomycin/aminoglycoside efficacy. The vesicle-associated membrane protein, TbVAMP7B, and a flippase contribute to amphotericin-B and miltefosine action, and are potential cross-resistance determinants. Finally, multiple phospholipid-transporting flippases, including the T. brucei orthologue of the Leishmania miltefosine transporter, a putative β-subunit/CDC50 co-factor, and additional membrane-associated hits, affect amphotericin-B efficacy, providing new insights into mechanisms of drug uptake and action. The findings from this orthology-based chemogenomic profiling approach substantially advance our understanding of anti-leishmanial drug action and potential resistance mechanisms, and should facilitate the development of improved therapies, as well as surveillance for drug-resistant parasites.