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Mol Biol Evol. 2001 May;18(5):710-20.

Pyruvate : NADP+ oxidoreductase from the mitochondrion of Euglena gracilis and from the apicomplexan Cryptosporidium parvum: a biochemical relic linking pyruvate metabolism in mitochondriate and amitochondriate protists.

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Institut für Botanik III, Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany.


Most eukaryotes perform the oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate in mitochondria using pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH). Eukaryotes that lack mitochondria also lack PDH, using instead the O(2)-sensitive enzyme pyruvate : ferredoxin oxidoreductase (PFO), which is localized either in the cytosol or in hydrogenosomes. The facultatively anaerobic mitochondria of the photosynthetic protist Euglena gracilis constitute a hitherto unique exception in that these mitochondria oxidize pyruvate with the O(2)-sensitive enzyme pyruvate : NADP oxidoreductase (PNO). Cloning and analysis of Euglena PNO revealed that the cDNA encodes a mitochondrial transit peptide followed by an N-terminal PFO domain that is fused to a C-terminal NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase (CPR) domain. Two independent 5.8-kb full-size cDNAs for Euglena mitochondrial PNO were isolated; the gene was expressed in cultures supplied with 2% CO(2) in air and with 2% CO(2) in N(2). The apicomplexan Cryptosporidium parvum was also shown to encode and express the same PFO-CPR fusion, except that, unlike E. gracilis, no mitochondrial transit peptide for C. parvum PNO was found. Recombination-derived remnants of PNO are conserved in the genomes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe as proteins involved in sulfite reduction. Notably, Trypanosoma brucei was found to encode homologs of both PFO and all four PDH subunits. Gene organization and phylogeny revealed that eukaryotic nuclear genes for mitochondrial, hydrogenosomal, and cytosolic PFO trace to a single eubacterial acquisition. These findings suggest a common ancestry of PFO in amitochondriate protists with Euglena mitochondrial PNO and Cryptosporidium PNO. They are also consistent with the view that eukaryotic PFO domains are biochemical relics inherited from a facultatively anaerobic, eubacterial ancestor of mitochondria and hydrogenosomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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