, Volume 190, Issue 2, pp 278-283

Regulation of enzymes involved in ornithine/arginine metabolism in the parasitic trypanosomatid Herpetomonas samuelpessoai

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The genetic regulation of enzymes involved in arginine and ornithine synthesis has been investigated in the parasitic trypanosomatid Herpetomonas samuelpessoai. The activities of two enzymes involved in arginine synthesis, ornithine carbamoyltransferase (OCTase) and argininosuccinate lyase (ASLase) were depressed whereas the enzyme citrulline hydrolase (CHase), which is involved in ornithine synthesis, was increased in arginine supplemented cultures of the parasites. The depression of OCTase activity in the presence of arginine was not due to feedback inhibition and CHase activity of uninduced cultures was not enhanced by exogeneous arginine. Studies of the kinetics of OCTase induction and repression revealed that arginine blocks OCTase synthesis but does not cause destruction of the enzyme. Ornithine, but not citrulline. was found to counteract the arginine mediated repression of OCTase. Two classes of canavanine resistant mutants of H. samuelpessoai were isolated. One class was defective in arginine uptake whereas the other was affected in regulation of OCTase and ASLase which appear to be under coordinate control in H. samuelpessoai.

Communicated by W. Gehring