, Volume 65, Issue 6, pp 725-729
Date: 27 Nov 2007

Plastid Isoprenoid Metabolism in the Oyster Parasite Perkinsus marinus Connects Dinoflagellates and Malaria Pathogens—New Impetus for Studying Alveolates

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The capacity for isopentenyl pyrophosphate (IPP) synthesis, the common precursor of isoprenoids, is universally distributed among photosynthetic and heterotrophic eukaryotes (Lange et al. 2000; this study). Land plants harbor two unrelated metabolic routes with specific substrates, intermediates, and sets of enzymes (Grauvogel and Petersen 2007). The cytosolic mevalonate-dependent MVA pathway, which is also present in metazoa and fungi, has been known since the 1960s (Katsuki and Bloch 1967; Lynen 1967), whereas the plastidial MEP (2-C-methyl-d-erythritol 4-phosphate) pathway was discovered just 10 years ago (Rohmer et al. 1993; Lichtenthaler et al. 1997). Plastid IPP generation was inherited from the cyanobacterial endosymbiont and subsequently spread to complex algae and Apicomplexa (e.g., Plasmodium falciparum) via eukaryote-to-eukaryote endosymbioses (Delwiche 1999). The “raison d’être” for plastids in heterotrophic parasites is their indispensable metabolic capacity, and the respe