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Sci Rep. 2015 Sep 28;5:14491. doi: 10.1038/srep14491.

Functional Analyses of the Toxoplasma gondii DNA Gyrase Holoenzyme: A Janus Topoisomerase with Supercoiling and Decatenation Abilities.

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Heddle Initiative Research Unit, RIKEN, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama, 351-0198, Japan.


A number of important protozoan parasites including those responsible for toxoplasmosis and malaria belong to the phylum Apicomplexa and are characterised by their possession of a relict plastid, the apicoplast. Being required for survival, apicoplasts are potentially useful drug targets and their attractiveness is increased by the fact that they contain "bacterial" gyrase, a well-established antibacterial drug target. We have cloned and purified the gyrase proteins from the apicoplast of Toxoplasma gondii (the cause of toxoplasmosis), reconstituted the functional enzyme and succeeded in characterising it. We discovered that the enzyme is inhibited by known gyrase inhibitors and that, as well as the expected supercoiling activity, it is also able to decatenate DNA with high efficiency. This unusual dual functionality may be related to the apparent lack of topoisomerase IV in the apicoplast.

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