Trichomonas vaginalis is the causative agent of trichomoniasis, the most prevalent non-viral sexually transmitted infection worldwide. Metronidazole (MTZ) is the mainstay of anti-trichomonal chemotherapy; however, drug resistance has become an increasingly worrying issue. Additionally, the molecular events of MTZ-induced cell death in T. vaginalis remain elusive. To gain insight into the differential expression of genes related to MTZ resistance and cell death, we conducted RNA-sequencing of three paired MTZ-resistant (MTZ-R) and MTZ-sensitive (MTZ-S) T. vaginalis strains treated with or without MTZ. Comparative transcriptomes analysis identified that several putative drug-resistant genes were exclusively upregulated in different MTZ-R strains, such as ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters and multidrug resistance pumps. Additionally, several shared upregulated genes among all the MTZ-R transcriptomes were not previously identified in T. vaginalis, such as 5′-nucleotidase surE and Na+-driven multidrug efflux pump, which are a potential stress response protein and a multidrug and toxic compound extrusion (MATE)-like protein, respectively. Functional enrichment analysis revealed that purine and pyrimidine metabolisms were suppressed in MTZ-S parasites upon drug treatment, whereas the endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD) pathway, proteasome, and ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis were strikingly activated, highlighting the novel pathways responsible for drug-induced stress. Our work presents the most detailed analysis of the transcriptional changes and the regulatory networks associated with MTZ resistance and MTZ-induced signaling, providing insights into MTZ resistance and cell death mechanisms in trichomonads.
- ABC transporter
- Drug resistance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)