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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2008 Aug;160(2):157-62. doi: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2008.04.013. Epub 2008 May 4.

Distinct mitochondrial HSP70 homologues conserved in various Leishmania species suggest novel biological functions.

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  • 1Centro de Pesquisas Aggeu Magalhães, Fiocruz, Avenida Moraes Rego s/n., Campus UFPE, Recife, PE 50670-420, Brazil.


We report the identification of two distinct homologues of the 70-kDa mitochondrial heat shock protein (mtHSP70) from Leishmania chagasi/Leishmania infantum (Lc2.1 and Lc2.2). In Leishmania species, multiple genes encoding Lc2.2 are present whilst single genes encode Lc2.1. Strikingly, genes encoding Lc2.1-like proteins are absent from Trypanosoma species. Lc2.2 is characterized by a poly-glutamine rich C-terminus, absent from Lc2.1 or mtHSP70 homologues outside the trypanosomatids. Lc2.1 displays unique substitutions within its peptide-binding domain which modify amino acids strictly conserved in cytoplasmic and mitochondrial HSP70 proteins alike. Affinity purified antibodies recognize mainly a single protein in extracts from promastigotes/epimastigotes of various Leishmania/Trypanosoma species. Upon differentiation of Leishmania amazonensis into amastigotes a second protein (presumably Lc2.1) is induced and becomes the predominant mtHSP70 homologue expressed. Subcellular localization of these proteins was investigated and ratified a distribution throughout the mitochondrial matrix. Our results imply novel mtHSP70 functions which evolved within the genus Leishmania.

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