The constituents of the respiratory chain are believed to differ among the trypanosomatids; bloodstream stages of African trypanosomes and Phytomonas promastigotes oxidize ubiquinol by a ubiquinol:oxygen oxidoreductase, also known as alternative oxidase, whereas Leishmania spp. oxidize ubiquinol via a classic cytochrome-containing respiratory chain. The molecular basis for this elementary difference in ubiquinol oxidation by the mitochondrial electron-transport chain in distinct trypanosomatids was investigated. The presence of a gene encoding the plant-like alternative oxidase could be demonstrated in Phytomonas and Trypanosoma brucei, trypanosomatids that are known to contain alternative oxidase activity. Our results further demonstrated that Leishmania spp. lack a gene encoding the plant-like alternative oxidase, and therefore, all stages of Leishmania spp. will lack the alternative oxidase protein. The observed fundamental differences between the respiratory chains of distinct members of the trypanosomatid family are thus caused by the presence or absence of a gene encoding the plant-like alternative oxidase.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
|Published - 1998