PLoS Pathog. 2022 Sep 23;18(9):e1010848. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1010848. Online ahead of print.
Aneuploidy causes system-wide disruptions in the stochiometric balances of transcripts, proteins, and metabolites, often resulting in detrimental effects for the organism. The protozoan parasite Leishmania has an unusually high tolerance for aneuploidy, but the molecular and functional consequences for the pathogen remain poorly understood. Here, we addressed this question in vitro and present the first integrated analysis of the genome, transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome of highly aneuploid Leishmania donovani strains. Our analyses unambiguously establish that aneuploidy in Leishmania proportionally impacts the average transcript- and protein abundance levels of affected chromosomes, ultimately correlating with the degree of metabolic differences between closely related aneuploid strains. This proportionality was present in both proliferative and non-proliferative in vitro promastigotes. However, as in other Eukaryotes, we observed attenuation of dosage effects for protein complex subunits and in addition, non-cytoplasmic proteins. Differentially expressed transcripts and proteins between aneuploid Leishmania strains also originated from non-aneuploid chromosomes. At protein level, these were enriched for proteins involved in protein metabolism, such as chaperones and chaperonins, peptidases, and heat-shock proteins. In conclusion, our results further support the view that aneuploidy in Leishmania can be adaptive. Additionally, we believe that the high karyotype diversity in vitro and absence of classical transcriptional regulation make Leishmania an attractive model to study processes of protein homeostasis in the context of aneuploidy and beyond.