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Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase from Tetrahymena pyriformis: enzyme purification and characterization of a gapC gene with primitive eukaryotic features.

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Laboratoire de Biochimie, Biologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire, Faculté des Sciences-Ain Chock, Casablanca, Morocco.


Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH, EC. was purified to electrophoretic homogeneity from an amicronucleated strain of the ciliate Tetrahymena pyriformis using a three-step procedure. The native enzyme is an homotetramer of 145 kDa exhibiting absolute specificity for NAD. In its catalytic properties it is similar to other glycolytic GAPDHs. Chromatofocusing analysis showed the presence of only one basic GAPDH isoform with an isoelectric point of 8.8. Western blots using a monospecific polyclonal antibody raised against the T. pyriformis GAPDH showed a single 36-kDa band corresponding to the enzyme subunit in the cytosolic protein fraction of this strain and the closely related species, both from the class Oligohymenophorea, Paramecium tetraurelia. No bands were immunodetected in the ciliate Colpoda inflata (class Colpodea) and in the diverse eukaryotes and eubacteria tested. A 0.5-kb DNA fragment which corresponds to an internal region of a gapC gene was generated by polymerase chain reaction using cDNA of T. pyriformis as template. This gene codes for a basic GAPDH protein with eukaryotic-diplomonad signatures and exhibits a codon usage biased in the manner typical for T. pyriformis genes. Southern blots performed both under homologous and heterologous conditions using this amplified cDNA fragment as a probe, indicated that it should be the only gapC gene present in the macronuclear genome of this ciliate, its expression being confirmed by Northern blot analysis. These results are discussed in connection with the peculiar genomic organization of ciliates and in the context of protist evolution.

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