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Mol Membr Biol. 2006 Mar-Apr;23(2):157-72.

Trypanosoma brucei glycosomal ABC transporters: identification and membrane targeting.

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Research Unit for Tropical Diseases, Christian de Duve Institute of Cellular Pathology and Laboratory of Biochemistry, Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.


Trypanosomes contain unique peroxisome-like organelles designated glycosomes which sequester enzymes involved in a variety of metabolic processes including glycolysis. We identified three ABC transporters associated with the glycosomal membrane of Trypanosoma brucei. They were designated GAT1-3 for Glycosomal ABC Transporters. These polypeptides are so-called half-ABC transporters containing only one transmembrane domain and a single nucleotide-binding domain, like their homologues of mammalian and yeast peroxisomes. The glycosomal localization was shown by immunofluorescence microscopy of trypanosomes expressing fusion constructs of the transporters with Green Fluorescent Protein. By expression of fluorescent deletion constructs, the glycosome-targeting determinant of two transporters was mapped to different fragments of their respective primary structures. Interestingly, these fragments share a short sequence motif and contain adjacent to it one--but not the same--of the predicted six transmembrane segments of the transmembrane domain. We also identified the T. brucei homologue of peroxin PEX19, which is considered to act as a chaperonin and/or receptor for cytosolically synthesized proteins destined for insertion into the peroxisomal membrane. By using a bacterial two-hybrid system, it was shown that glycosomal ABC transporter fragments containing an organelle-targeting determinant can interact with both the trypanosomatid and human PEX19, despite their low overall sequence identity. Mutated forms of human PEX19 that lost interaction with human peroxisomal membrane proteins also did not bind anymore to the T. brucei glycosomal transporter. Moreover, fragments of the glycosomal transporter were targeted to the peroxisomal membrane when expressed in mammalian cells. Together these results indicate evolutionary conservation of the glycosomal/peroxisomal membrane protein import mechanism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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