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J Mol Evol. 1995 Sep;41(3):388-96.

Primary structure and eubacterial relationships of the pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase of the amitochondriate eukaryote Trichomonas vaginalis.

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Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


In the eukaryotic unicellular organism Trichomonas vaginalis a key step of energy metabolism, the oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate with the formation of acetyl-CoA, is catalyzed by the iron-sulfur protein pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase (PFO) and not by the almost-ubiquitous pyruvate dehydrogenase multienzyme complex. This enzyme is localized in the hydrogenosome, an organelle bounded by a double membrane. PFO and its closely related homolog, pyruvate:flavodoxin oxidoreductase, are enzymes found in a number of archaebacteria and eubacteria. The presence of these enzymes in eukaryotes is restricted, however, to a few amitochondriate groups. To gain more insight into the evolutionary relationships of T. vaginalis PFO we determined the primary structure of its two genes (pfoA and pfoB). The deduced amino acid sequences showed 95% positional identity. Motifs implicated in related enzymes in liganding the Fe-S centers and thiamine pyrophosphate were well conserved. The T. vaginalis PFOs were found to be homologous to eubacterial pyruvate:flavodoxin oxidoreductases and showed about 40% amino acid identity to these enzymes over their entire length. Lack of eubacterial PFO sequences precluded a comparison. pfoA and pfoB revealed a greater distance from related enzymes of Archaebacteria. The conceptual translation of the nucleotide sequences predicted an amino-terminal pentapeptide not present in the mature protein. This processed leader sequence was similar to but shorter than leader sequences noted in other hydrogenosomal proteins.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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