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Int J Parasitol. 2011 Nov;41(13-14):1421-34. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2011.10.001. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

The Trichomonas vaginalis hydrogenosome proteome is highly reduced relative to mitochondria, yet complex compared with mitosomes.

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Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


The human pathogen Trichomonas vaginalis lacks conventional mitochondria and instead contains divergent mitochondrial-related organelles. These double-membrane bound organelles, called hydrogenosomes, produce molecular hydrogen. Phylogenetic and biochemical analyses of hydrogenosomes indicate a common origin with mitochondria; however identification of hydrogenosomal proteins and studies on its metabolism have been limited. Here we provide a detailed proteomic analysis of the T. vaginalis hydrogenosome. The proteome of purified hydrogenosomes consists of 569 proteins, a number substantially lower than the 1,000-1,500 proteins reported for fungal and animal mitochondrial proteomes, yet considerably higher than proteins assigned to mitosomes. Pathways common to and distinct from both mitochondria and mitosomes were revealed by the hydrogenosome proteome. Proteins known to function in amino acid and energy metabolism, Fe-S cluster assembly, flavin-mediated catalysis, oxygen stress response, membrane translocation, chaperonin functions, proteolytic processing and ATP hydrolysis account for ∼30% of the hydrogenosome proteome. Of the 569 proteins in the hydrogenosome proteome, many appear to be associated with the external surface of hydrogenosomes, including large numbers of GTPases and ribosomal proteins. Glycolytic proteins were also found to be associated with the hydrogenosome proteome, similar to that previously observed for mitochondrial proteomes. Approximately 18% of the hydrogenosomal proteome is composed of hypothetical proteins of unknown function, predictive of multiple activities and properties yet to be uncovered for these highly adapted organelles.

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