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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1991 Apr;45(2):185-92.

Mitochondrial development in Trypanosoma brucei brucei transitional bloodstream forms.

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Department of Medical and Molecular Parasitology, New York University Medical Center, NY 10010.


Intermediate and short stumpy bloodstream forms of Trypanosoma brucei brucei are transitional stages in the differentiation of mammal-infective long slender bloodstream forms into the procyclic forms found in the midgut of the tsetse vector. Although the mitochondria of the proliferative long slender forms do not accumulate rhodamine 123, the mitochondria of the transitional forms attain this ability thus revealing the development of an electromotive force (EMF) across the inner mitochondrial membrane. The EMF is inhibited by 2,4-dinitrophenol, rotenone and salicylhydroxamic acid but not by antimycin A or cyanide. Consequently, NADH dehydrogenase, site I of oxidative phosphorylation, is the source of the EMF and the plant-like trypanosome alternative oxidase (TAO) supports the electron flow serving as the terminal oxidase of the chain. Although the TAO is present in the long slender forms as well, it serves only as the terminal oxidase for electrons from glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase. The data presented here, combined with older data, lead to the conclusion that the mitochondria of transitional intermediate and short stumpy forms likely produce ATP. This putative production is either by F1F0 ATPase driven by the complex I proton pump or by mitochondrial substrate level phosphorylation, or most likely by both. These conclusions contrast with the previously held dogma that all bloodstream form mitochondria are incapable of ATP production.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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