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Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 388–396 | Cite as

Primary structure and eubacterial relationships of the pyruvate:Ferredoxin oxidoreductase of the amitochondriate eukaryoteTrichomonas vaginalis

  • Ivan Hrdý
  • Miklós Müller
Articles

Abstract

In the eukaryotic unicellular organismTrichomonas vaginalis a key step of energy metabolism, the oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate with the formation of acetyl-CoA, is catalyzed by the iron-sulfur protein pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase (PFO) and not by the almost-ubiquitous pyruvate dehydrogenase multienzyme complex. This enzyme is localized in the hydrogenosome, an organelle bounded by a double membrane. PFO and its closely related homolog, pyruvate: flavodoxin oxidoreductase, are enzymes found in a number of archaebacteria and eubacteria. The presence of these enzymes in eukaryotes is restricted, however, to a few amitochondriate groups. To gain more insight into the evolutionary relationships ofT. vaginalis PFO we determined the primary structure of its two genes (pfoA andpfoB). The deduced amino acid sequences showed 95% positional identity. Motifs implicated in related enzymes in liganding the Fe-S centers and thiamine pyrophosphate were well conserved. TheT. vaginalis PFOs were found to be homologous to eubacterial pyruvate: flavodoxin oxidoreductases and showed about 40% amino acid identity to these enzymes over their entire length. Lack of eubacterial PFO sequences precluded a comparison.pfoA andpfoB revealed a greater distance from related enzymes of Archaebacteria. The conceptual translation of the nucleotide sequences predicted an amino-terminal pentapeptide not present in the mature protein. This processed leader sequence was similar to but shorter than leader sequences noted in other hydrogenosomal proteins. These sequences are assumed to be involved in organellar targeting and import. The results underscore the unusual characteristics ofT. vaginalis metabolism and of their hydrogenosomes. They also suggest that in its energy metabolismT. vaginalis is closer to eubacteria than archaebacteria.

Key words

Hydrogenosome Molecular phylogeny Anaerobic protist 

Abbreviations

PCR

DNA polymerase chain reaction

PDH

pyruvate dehydrogenase

PFO

pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase

TPP

thiamine pyrophosphate

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ivan Hrdý
    • 1
  • Miklós Müller
    • 1
  1. 1.The Rockefeller UniversityNew YorkUSA

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