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J Mol Evol. 1998 Dec;47(6):739-50.

The pyrophosphate-dependent phosphofructokinase of the protist, Trichomonas vaginalis, and the evolutionary relationships of protist phosphofructokinases.

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The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.


The pyrophosphate-dependent phosphofructokinase (PPi-PFK) of the amitochondriate protist Trichomonas vaginalis has been purified. The enzyme is a homotetramer of about 50 kDa subunits and is not subject to allosteric regulation. The protein was fragmented and a number of peptides were sequenced. Based on this information a PCR product was obtained from T. vaginalis gDNA and used to isolate corresponding cDNA and gDNA clones. Southern analysis indicated the presence of five genes. One open reading frame (ORF) was completely sequenced and for two others the 5' half of the gene was determined. The sequences were highly similar. The complete ORF corresponded to a polypeptide of about 46 kDa. All the peptide sequences obtained were present in the derived sequences. The complete ORF was highly similar to that of other PFKs, primarily in its amino-terminal half. The T. vaginalis enzyme was most similar to PPi-PFK of the mitochondriate heterolobosean, Naegleria fowleri. Most of the residues shown or assumed to be involved in substrate binding in other PPi-PFKs were conserved in the T. vaginalis enzyme. Direct comparison and phylogenetic reconstruction revealed a significant divergence among PPi-PFKs and related enzymes, which can be assigned to at least four distantly related groups, three of which contain enzymes of protists. The separation of these groups is supported with a high percentage of bootstrap proportions. The short T. vaginalis PFK shares a most recent common ancestor with the enzyme from N. fowleri. This pair is clearly separated from a group comprising the long (>60-kDa) enzymes from Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba histolytica pfk2, the spirochaetes Borrelia burgdorferi and Trepomena pallidum, as well as the alpha- and beta-subunits of plant PPi-PFKs. The third group ("X") containing protist sequences includes the glycosomal ATP-PFK of Trypanosoma brucei, E. histolytica pfk1, and a second sequence from B. burgdorferi. The fourth group ("Y") comprises cyanobacterial and high-G + C, Gram-positive eubacterial sequences. The well-studied PPi-PFK of Propionibacterium freudenreichii is highly divergent and cannot be assigned to any of these groups. These four groups are well separated from typical ATP-PFKs, the phylogenetic analysis of which confirmed relationships established earlier. These findings indicate a complex history of a key step of glycolysis in protists with several early gene duplications and possible horizontal gene transfers.

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