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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1994 Aug 15;313(1):77-82.

Alteration of pyruvate metabolism in African trypanosomes during differentiation from bloodstream into insect forms.

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Laboratory for Molecular and Cellular Bioenergetics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205.


In the presence of glucose and ample oxygen, insect form African trypanosomes release pyruvate more than 100-fold more slowly than do bloodstream forms. This rate decrease could not be accounted for simply by an increased mitochondrial pyruvate oxidation rate as inhibiting mitochondrial respiration increases pyruvate efflux to rates only 2-3% of that observed for bloodstream form trypanosomes. Alternatively, decreased pyruvate efflux from insect form trypanosomes could not be accounted for by decreased pyruvate transporter activity, which, surprisingly, was nearly as high in insect form trypanosomes as reported by us earlier for bloodstream forms (J.P. Barnard, B. Reynafarje, and P.L. Pedersen (1993) J. Biol. Chem. 268, 3654-3661). Rather, the low pyruvate efflux rate appears to be due primarily to reduced levels of the enzyme pyruvate kinase, which, in contrast to conclusions of an earlier study, is readily detected in insect form trypanosomes in the absence of added activators at an activity level about 4% of that found in bloodstream forms. Insect form pyruvate kinase seems to be located in the cytosol and exhibits kinetic profiles and constants nearly identical to those reported by us earlier for the bloodstream form enzyme (J.P. Barnard, and P.L. Pedersen (1988) Mol. Biochem. Parasitol. 31, 141-148). It is suggested that the reduced levels of pyruvate kinase, and hence the reduced pyruvate efflux rates, in insect form trypanosomes result from down regulation of the gene encoding the cytosolic enzyme.

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