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J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2002 Jan-Feb;49(1):82-5.

Arginine kinase: a common feature for management of energy reserves in African and American flagellated trypanosomatids.

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Instituto de Investigaciones en Ingeniería Genética y Biología Molecular, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.


This work reports the characterization of an arginine kinase in the unicellular parasitic flagellate Trypanosoma brucei, the etiological agent of human sleeping sickness and Nagana in livestock. The arginine kinase activity, detected in the soluble fraction obtained from procyclic forms, had a specific activity similar to that observed in Trypanosoma cruzi, about 0.2 micromol min(-1) mg(-1). Western blot analysis of T. brucei extracts revealed two bands of 40 and 45 kDa. The putative gene sequence of this enzyme had an open reading frame for a 356-amino acid polypeptide, one less than the equivalent enzyme of T. cruzi. The deduced amino acid sequence has an 82% identity with the arginine kinase of T. cruzi, and highest amino acid identities of both trypanosomatids sequences, about 70%, were with arginine kinases from the phylum Arthropoda. In addition, the amino acid sequence possesses the five arginine residues critical for interaction with ATP as well as two glutamic acids and one cysteine required for arginine binding. The finding in trypanosomatids of a new phosphagen biosynthetic pathway, which is not present in mammalian host tissues, suggests this enzyme as a possible target for chemotherapy.

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