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FEBS Lett. 1989 Feb 13;244(1):26-30.

The enzymes of the classical pentose phosphate pathway display differential activities in procyclic and bloodstream forms of Trypanosoma brucei.

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Department of Biochemistry, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.


The specific activities of each of the enzymes of the classical pentose phosphate pathway have been determined in both cultured procyclic and bloodstream forms of Trypanosoma brucei. Both forms contained glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (EC, 6-phosphogluconolactonase (EC, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (EC, ribose-5-phosphate isomerase (EC and transaldolase (EC However, ribulose-5-phosphate 3'-epimerase (EC and transketolase (EC activities were detectable only in procyclic forms. These results clearly demonstrate that both forms of T. brucei can metabolize glucose via the oxidative segment of the classical pentose phosphate pathway in order to produce D-ribose-5-phosphate for the synthesis of nucleic acids and reduced NADP for other synthetic reactions. However, only procyclic forms are capable of using the non-oxidative segment of the classical pentose phosphate pathway to cycle carbon between pentose and hexose phosphates in order to produce D-glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate as a net product of the pathway. Both forms lack the key gluconeogenic enzyme, fructose-bisphosphatase (EC Consequently, neither form should be able to engage in gluconeogenesis nor should procyclic forms be able to return any of the glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate produced in the pentose phosphate pathway to glucose 6-phosphate. This last specific metabolic arrangement and the restriction of all but the terminal steps of glycolysis to the glycosome may be the observations required to explain the presence of distinct cytosolic and glycosomal isoenzymes of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and phosphoglycerate kinase. These same observations also may provide the basis for explaining the presence of cytosolic hexokinase and phosphoglucose isomerase without the presence of any cytosolic phosphofructokinase activity. The key enzymes of the Entner-Doudoroff pathway, 6-phosphogluconate dehydratase (EC and 2-keto-3-deoxy-6-phosphogluconate aldolase (EC were not detected in either procyclic or bloodstream forms of T. brucei.

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