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A defined medium for Leishmania culture allows definition of essential amino acids

Nayak, Archana, Akpunarlieva, Snezhana, Barrett, Michael, Burchmore, Richard
Experimental parasitology 2018 v.185 pp. 39-52
Leishmania, alanine, amino acid requirements, arginine, asparagine, axenic culture, culture media, essential amino acids, leucine, lysine, macrophages, metabolism, metabolomics, parasites, pathogenicity, phenylalanine, promastigotes, proteomics, tryptophan, valine, viability
Axenic culture of Leishmania is generally performed in rich, serum-supplemented media which sustain robust growth over multiple passages. The use of such undefined media, however, obscures proteomic analyses and confounds the study of metabolism. We have established a simple, defined culture medium that supports the sustained growth of promastigotes over multiple passages and which yields parasites that have similar infectivity to macrophages to parasites grown in a conventional semi-defined medium. We have exploited this medium to investigate the amino acid requirements of promastigotes in culture and have found that phenylalanine, tryptophan, arginine, leucine, lysine and valine are essential for viability in culture. Most of the 20 proteogenic amino acids promote growth of Leishmania promastigotes, with the exception of alanine, asparagine, and glycine. This defined medium will be useful for further studies of promastigote substrate requirements, and will facilitate future proteomic and metabolomic analyses.