Main content area

Evaluation of drug effects on Toxoplasma gondii nuclear and plastid DNA replication using real-time PCR

Zhao, Qing, Zhang, Ming, Hong, Lingxian, Zhou, Kefu, Lin, Yuguang
Parasitology research 2010 v.106 no.5 pp. 1257-1262
DNA primers, DNA replication, Toxoplasma gondii, azithromycin, cell culture, ciprofloxacin, circular DNA, clindamycin, drug evaluation, drug therapy, genes, humans, mitochondria, monitoring, nuclear genome, parasites, plastid DNA, polymerase chain reaction, sulfadiazine, tachyzoites
Toxoplasma gondii Nicolle and Manceaux, 1908 is a unicellular protozoan that can infect a broad spectrum of organisms including humans. In addition to a nuclear genome, it also carries a circular DNA within a plastid-like organelle (apicoplast) and a linear genome within its mitochondria. The plastid organelle has been shown to be the target of various anti-parasitic drugs or antibiotics. To evaluate the effects of agents on the DNA replication of T. gondii, we tested six drugs (ciprofloxacin, acetylspiramycin, clindamycin, azithromycin, artemether, and sulfadiazine) on the parasite cultured in Hela cells. After drug treatment for 48 h, the parasite growth and DNA replication were evaluated and quantitated using TaqMan real-time quantitative PCR with oligonucleotide primers synthesized based on a gene from the apicoplast genome (ycf24, Genbank accession no. U87145) and a gene from the nuclear genome (uprt, Genbank accession no. U10246). Our results showed that ciprofloxacin was the most effective in inhibiting the replication of the plastid DNA after 48 h drug treatment, with a reduction of 22% in the copy number of the plastid DNA. Artemether was the most effective drug in suppressing the proliferation of tachyzoites. This study also demonstrates that real-time quantitative PCR is a simple and useful technique for monitoring parasite growth and DNA replication.