Article

Aerobic kinetoplastid flagellate Phytomonas does not require heme for viability

Biology Centre, Institute of Parasitology, Czech Academy of Sciences and Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 03/2012; 109(10):3808-13. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1201089109
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Heme is an iron-coordinated porphyrin that is universally essential as a protein cofactor for fundamental cellular processes, such as electron transport in the respiratory chain, oxidative stress response, or redox reactions in various metabolic pathways. Parasitic kinetoplastid flagellates represent a rare example of organisms that depend on oxidative metabolism but are heme auxotrophs. Here, we show that heme is fully dispensable for the survival of Phytomonas serpens, a plant parasite. Seeking to understand the metabolism of this heme-free eukaryote, we searched for heme-containing proteins in its de novo sequenced genome and examined several cellular processes for which heme has so far been considered indispensable. We found that P. serpens lacks most of the known hemoproteins and does not require heme for electron transport in the respiratory chain, protection against oxidative stress, or desaturation of fatty acids. Although heme is still required for the synthesis of ergosterol, its precursor, lanosterol, is instead incorporated into the membranes of P. serpens grown in the absence of heme. In conclusion, P. serpens is a flagellate with unique metabolic adaptations that allow it to bypass all requirements for heme.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Ludek Koreny, Jun 20, 2015
1 Follower
 · 
173 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Trypanosomatids are a very diverse group composed of monoxenous and dixenous parasites belonging to the excavate class Kinetoplastea. Here we studied the respiration of five monoxenous species (Blechomonas ayalai, Herpetomonas muscarum, H. samuelpessoai, Leptomonas pyrrhocoris and Sergeia podlipaevi) introduced into culture, each representing a novel yet globally distributed and/or species-rich clade, and compare them with well-studied flagellates Trypanosoma brucei, Phytomonas serpens, Crithidia fasciculata and Leishmania tarentolae. Differences in structure and activities of respiratory chain complexes, respiration and other biochemical parameters recorded under laboratory conditions reveal their substantial diversity, likely a reflection of different host environments. Phylogenetic relationships of the analysed trypanosomatids do not correlate with their biochemical parameters, with the differences within clades by far exceeding those among clades. As the S. podlipaevi canonical respiratory chain complexes have very low activities, we believe that its mitochondrion is utilised for purposes other than oxidative phosphorylation. Hence, the single reticulated mitochondrion of diverse trypanosomatids seems to retain multipotency, with the capacity to activate its individual components based on the host environment.
    Molecular Microbiology 12/2014; 96(1). DOI:10.1111/mmi.12920 · 5.03 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Classically viewed as a cytosolic pathway, glycolysis is increasingly recognized as a metabolic pathway exhibiting surprisingly wide-ranging variations in compartmentalization within eukaryotic cells. Trypanosomatid parasites provide an extreme view of glycolytic enzyme compartmentalization as several glycolytic enzymes are found exclusively in peroxisomes. Here, we characterize Trypanosoma brucei flagellar proteins resembling glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK): we show the latter associates with the axoneme and the former is a novel paraflagellar rod component. The paraflagellar rod is an essential extra-axonemal structure in trypanosomes and related protists, providing a platform into which metabolic activities can be built. Yet, bioinformatics interrogation and structural modelling indicate neither the trypanosome PGK-like nor the GAPDH-like protein is catalytically active. Orthologs are present in a free-living ancestor of the trypanosomatids, Bodo saltans: the PGK-like protein from B. saltans also lacks key catalytic residues, but its GAPDH-like protein is predicted to be catalytically competent. We discuss the likelihood that the trypanosome GAPDH-like and PGK-like proteins constitute molecular evidence for evolutionary loss of a flagellar glycolytic pathway, either as a consequence of niche adaptation or the re-localization of glycolytic enzymes to peroxisomes and the extensive changes to glycolytic flux regulation that accompanied this re-localization. Evidence indicating loss of localized ATP provision via glycolytic enzymes therefore provides a novel contribution to an emerging theme of hidden diversity with respect to compartmentalization of the ubiquitous glycolytic pathway in eukaryotes. A possibility that trypanosome GAPDH-like protein additionally represents a degenerate example of a moonlighting protein is also discussed.
    PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e103026. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0103026 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Heme is an essential molecule for vast majority of organisms serving as a prosthetic group for various hemoproteins. Although most organisms synthesize heme from 5-aminolevulinic acid through a conserved heme biosynthetic pathway composed of seven consecutive enzymatic reactions, nematodes are known to be natural heme auxotrophs. The completely sequenced Caenorhabditis elegans genome, for example, lacks all seven genes for heme biosynthesis. However, genome/transcriptome sequencing of Strongyloides venezuelensis, an important model nematode species for studying human strongyloidiasis, indicated the presence of a gene for ferrochelatase (FeCH), which catalyzes the terminal step of heme biosynthesis, whereas the other six heme biosynthesis genes are apparently missing. Phylogenetic analyses indicated that nematode FeCH genes, including that of S. venezuelensis (SvFeCH) have a fundamentally different evolutionally origin from the FeCH genes of non-nematode metazoa. Although all non-nematode metazoan FeCH genes appear to be inherited vertically from an ancestral opisthokont, nematode FeCH may have been acquired from an alpha-proteobacterium, horizontally. The identified SvFeCH sequence was found to function as FeCH as expected based on both in vitro chelatase assays using recombinant SvFeCH and in vivo complementation experiments using an FeCH-deficient strain of Escherichia coli. Messenger RNA expression levels during the S. venezuelensis lifecycle were examined by real-time RT-PCR. SvFeCH mRNA was expressed at all the stages examined with a marked reduction at the infective third-stage larvae. Our study demonstrates the presence of a bacteria-like FeCH gene in the S. venezuelensis genome. It appeared that S. venezuelensis and some other animal parasitic nematodes reacquired the once-lost FeCH gene. Although the underlying evolutionary pressures that necessitated this reacquisition remain to be investigated, it is interesting that the presence of FeCH genes in the absence of other heme biosynthesis genes has been reported only for animal pathogens, and this finding may be related to nutritional availability in animal hosts.
    PLoS ONE 03/2013; 8(3):e58458. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0058458 · 3.53 Impact Factor