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Sci Rep. 2012;2:254. doi: 10.1038/srep00254. Epub 2012 Feb 9.

Ethanolamine phosphoglycerol attachment to eEF1A is not essential for normal growth of Trypanosoma brucei.


Eukaryotic elongation factor 1A (eEF1A) is the only protein modified by ethanolamine phosphoglycerol (EPG). In mammals and plants, EPG is attached to conserved glutamate residues located in eEF1A domains II and III, whereas in the unicellular eukaryote, Trypanosoma brucei, a single EPG moiety is attached to domain III. A biosynthetic precursor of EPG and structural requirements for EPG attachment to T. brucei eEF1A have been reported, but the role of this unique protein modification in cellular growth and eEF1A function has remained elusive. Here we report, for the first time in a eukaryotic cell, a model system to study potential roles of EPG. By down-regulation of EF1A expression and subsequent complementation of eEF1A function using conditionally expressed exogenous eEF1A (mutant) proteins, we show that eEF1A lacking EPG complements trypanosomes deficient in endogenous eEF1A, demonstrating that EPG attachment is not essential for normal growth of T. brucei in culture.

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