Tetracycline-inducible gene expression in Trichomonas vaginalis

Diana Ortiz, Patricia J. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Transient and stable gene delivery systems are available for Trichomonas vaginalis, however, they do not allow regulated expression of target genes. To study essential genes or proteins that are toxic to the cells when over expressed, we have developed an inducible/repressible gene expression system in this parasite, which is driven by the tet-operator (tetO) and regulated tetracycline-responsive Tet repressor (TetR). Inducible chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (CAT) gene expression is observed using a concentration of tetracycline (Tc) as low as 0.1μgml-1. Expression increases with drug dose with a maximum level of CAT induction achieved in stable transfectants using 5μgml-1 Tc. CAT protein expression is detectable within 12h and reaches a maximum level at 48h, demonstrating that inducible expression is time and dose-dependent. In an inverse experiment, parasites previously cultivated with 1μgml-1 of Tc for 48h, were grown in the absence of drug to determine the kinetics of repression. A significant decrease in protein concentration is detected after 48h, and no detectable protein is observed after 72h. Experiments replacing the CAT gene with the puromycin N-acetyltransferase (PAC) gene in the Tet regulated expression construct have demonstrated the use of this system for testing putative toxic and essential genes. The establishment of regulated gene expression of exogenous genes in T. vaginalis represents a crucial step towards determining the function of proteins in this divergent parasite.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-49
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 25 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Inducible gene expression
  • Tetracycline
  • Trichomonas vaginalis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Molecular Biology


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