Schistosoma mansoni sporocysts contain rhodoquinone and produce succinate by fumarate reduction

J. J. Van Hellemond, A. Van Remoortere, A. G.M. Tielens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Although schistosomes were thought to be one of the few parasitic helminths that do not produce succinate via fumarate reduction, it was recently demonstrated that sporocysts of Schistosoma mansoni produce, under certain conditions, succinate in addition to lactate. This succinate production was only observed when the respiratory chain activity of the sporocysts was inhibited, which suggested that succinate is produced by fumarate reduction. In this report the presence of essential components for fumarate reduction was investigated in various stages of S. mansoni and it was shown that, in contrast to adults, sporocysts contained a substantial amount of rhodoquinone which is essential for efficient fumarate reduction in eukaryotes. This rhodoquinone was not made by modification of ubiquinone obtained from the host, but was synthesized de novo. Furthermore, it was shown that complex II of the electron-transport chain in schistosomes has the kinetic properties of a dedicated fumarate reductase instead of those of a succinate dehydrogenase. The presence of such an enzyme, together with the substantial amounts of rhodoquinone, shows that in S. mansoni sporocysts succinate is produced via fumarate reduction. Therefore, the energy metabolism of schistosomes does not differ in principle from most other parasitic helminths, which are known to rely heavily on fumarate reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-182
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


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