The microsporidia genome: Living with minimal genes as an intracellular eukaryote

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Abstract

Encephalitozoon cuniculi is a mammal-infecting microsporidian harbouring an extremely reduced nuclear genome (2.9 Mbp). Following its complete sequencing, gene annotation has revealed possible transport and metabolic pathways in the parasite. A clathrin-independent route of endocytosis is predicted. Anaerobic glycolysis and pentose-phosphate pathway may account for generation of ATP and reducing power, respectively, but the fates of pyruvate and NADH remain to be explored. A mevalonate pathway may produce geranylgeranyl and dolichyl groups, not sterols. Although the microsporidian Golgi apparatus is unstacked, several encoded proteins are specific of cis and trans Golgi compartments. Encephalitozoon cuniculi should be unable to perform Nlinked glycosylation, a unique case among eukaryotes.