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Eur J Biochem. 1989 Sep 15;184(2):455-64.

Glucosephosphate isomerase from Trypanosoma brucei. Cloning and characterization of the gene and analysis of the enzyme.

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International Institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology, Research Unit for Tropical Diseases, Brussels, Belgium.


In Trypanosoma brucei the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate isomerase, like most other enzymes of the glycolytic pathway, resides in a microbody-like organelle, the glycosome. Here we report a detailed study of this enzyme, involving a determination of its kinetic properties and the cloning and sequence analysis of its gene. The gene codes for a polypeptide of 606 amino acids, with a calculated Mr of 67280. The protein predicted from the gene sequence has 54-58% positional identity with its yeast and mammalian counterparts. Compared to those other glucose-6-phosphate isomerases the trypanosomal enzyme contains an additional 38-49 amino acids in its N-terminal domain, as well as a number of small insertions and deletions. The additional amino acids are responsible for the 5-kDa-larger subunit mass of the T. brucei enzyme, as measured by gel electrophoresis. The glucose-6-phosphate isomerase of the trypanosome has no excess of positive residues and, consequently, no high isoelectric point, in contrast to the other glycolytic enzymes that are present in the glycosome. However, similar to other glycosomal proteins analyzed so far, specific clusters of positive residues can be recognized in the primary structure. Comparison of the kinetic properties of the T. brucei glucose-6-phosphate isomerase with those of the yeast and rabbit muscle enzymes did not reveal major differences. The three enzymes have very similar pH profiles. The affinity for the substrate fructose 6-phosphate (Km = 0.122 mM) and the inhibition constant for the competitive inhibitor gluconate 6-phosphate (Ki = 0.14 mM) are in the same range as those of the similar enzymes. The Km shows the same strong dependence on salt as the rabbit muscle enzyme, although somewhat less than the yeast glucose-6-phosphate isomerase. The trypanocidal drug suramin inhibits the T. brucei and yeast enzymes to the same extent (Ki = 0.29 and 0.36 mM, respectively), but it had no effect on the rabbit muscle enzyme. Agaricic acid, a potent inhibitor of various glycosomal enzymes of T. brucei, has also a strong, irreversible effect on glucose-6-phosphate isomerase, while leaving the yeast and mammalian enzymes relatively unaffected.

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