The metabolism of [35S]methionine in cultured bloodstream forms of African trypanosomes was followed using flow-through radiodetection linked to liquid chromatography separation. The effects of a transmethylase inhibitor, sinefungin, and of the ornithine decarboxylase inhibitor, DL-alpha-difluoromethylornithine (Ornidyl; DFMO), on methionine metabolism were also observed. Trypanosomes rapidly incorporated [35S]methionine into S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) and the metabolites methylthioadenosine, S-adenosylhomocysteine, homocysteine, cystathionine cysteine and glutathione. Untreated trypanosomes excreted large quantities of cystathionine and cysteine into the growth medium. DFMO-treated cells formed larger quantities of AdoMet more rapidly than did control cells, as was evident from initial time points (30 min and 1 h). Decarboxylated AdoMet, present in trace quantities in control cells, accumulated in DFMO-treated cells. Sinefungin increased the AdoMet concentrations approximately 20-fold over that of controls after a 6 h incubation with [35S]methionine, while cystathionine and cysteine levels decreased. The half-life (t1/2) and rate of turnover of AdoMet were measured in cells treated with DFMO or sinefungin. DFMO treatment caused a substantial increase in the rate of AdoMet utilization, while sinefungin extended the t1/2 and lowered AdoMet turnover. These studies show that trypanosomes rapidly metabolize methionine through AdoMet to intermediates of the polyamine and transmethylation pathways. Agents inhibiting these pathways rapidly affect the concentration and rate of utilization of AdoMet, significantly changing the concentrations of metabolites.
Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), the lead enzyme in polyamine biosynthesis, was partially purified from Trichomonas vaginalis and its kinetic properties were studied. The enzyme appears to be of special significance in this anaerobic parasite, since the arginine dihydrolase pathway generates ATP as well as putrescine from arginine. ODC from T. vaginalis had a broad substrate specificity, decarboxylating ornithine (100%), lysine (1.0%) and arginine (0.1%). The enzyme had a pH optimum of 6.5, a temperature optimum of 37 degrees C and was pyridoxal 5′-phosphate-dependent. Attempts to separate ornithine- from lysine-decarboxylating activity by thermal-stability and pH-optima curves were not successful. Although Km values for ornithine and lysine were 109 and 91 microM respectively, and the Vmax values for these substrates were 1282 and 13 nmol/min per mg of protein respectively, the most important intracellular substrate is ornithine, since intracellular ornithine levels are 3.5 times those of lysine and extracellular putrescine levels are 7.5 times those of cadaverine. Ornithine was also an effective inhibitor of lysine-decarboxylating activity (Ki 150 microM), whereas lysine was relatively ineffective as inhibitor of ornithine-decarboxylating activity (Ki 14.5 mM). Crude ODC activity was localized (86%) in the 43,000 g supernatant and 3303-fold purification was obtained by (NH4)2SO4 salting and DEAE-Sephacel, agarose-gel and hydroxyapatite chromatography steps. The enzyme bound difluoro[3H]methylornithine ([3H]DFMO) with a ratio of drug bound to activity of 2500 fmol/unit, where 1 unit corresponds to 1 nmol of CO2 released from ornithine/min. The enzyme had a native M(r) of 210000 (gel filtration), with a subunit M(r) of 55,000 (by SDS/PAGE), suggesting that the trichomonad enzyme is a tetramer. From the subunit M(r) and binding ratio of DFMO, there is about 137 ng of ODC per mg of T. vaginalis protein (0.013%). The significant amount of ODC protein present supports the view that putrescine synthesis in T. vaginalis plays an important role in the metabolism of the parasite.
Sedimentable hydrogenase activity was demonstrated in cell-free extracts from both zoospores and vegetative growth of the anaerobic rumen fungus Neocallimastix patriciarum. Electron micrographs of the fraction enriched in hydrogenase activity contained finely granular microbody-like organelles, about 0.5 micron in diameter and having an equilibrium density of about 1.2 g X ml-1 in sucrose, 1.12 g X ml-1 in Percoll and 1.27-1.28 g X ml-1 in Metrizamide. These organelles, which are sedimentable at 10(5) g-min, bear no similarity to mitochondria, but are morphologically similar to hydrogen-evolving organelles possessed by certain anaerobic protozoa and termed ‘hydrogenosomes’. Other typical hydrogenosomal enzymes, namely ‘malic’ enzyme, pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase and NADPH:ferredoxin oxidoreductase, were enriched in the same particle fraction as hydrogenase. The synthesis of pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase was found to be suppressed when the organism was cultured under an atmosphere of CO2, and an alternative pathway is proposed for growth under these conditions.
Production of butyrate by the holotrich protozoon Dasytricha ruminantium involves the enzymes of glycolysis, pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase, acetyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA C-acetyltransferase, 3-hydroxybutyryl-CoA dehydrogenase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA hydro-lyase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA reductase, phosphate butyryltransferase and butyrate kinase. Subcellular fractionation by differential and density-gradient centrifugation on sucrose gradients indicated that all those enzymes except pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase were non-sedimentable at 6 × 10(6) g-min. Butyrate kinase and phosphate butyryltransferase were associated with the large- and small-granule fractions. Thus, although metabolic reactions necessary for butyrate production proceed predominantly in the cytosol, hydrogenosomes play a key role in the conversion of pyruvate into acetyl-CoA.
The endogenous respiration of the rumen ciliate Dasytricha ruminantium maintained under an O2 tension of 2kPa (approximately 0.02 atm) was partially inhibited by KCN (40% inhibition) and NaN3 (58% inhibition). The organisms lack cytochromes, and sensitivity of respiration to KCN, NaN3, chloroquine and quercetin suggest that the operation of flavoprotein-iron-sulphur-mediated electron transport. As in Tritrichomonas foetus, hydrogenosomal respiration can be stimulated by the addition of CoA in the presence of 0.025% Triton X-100; stimulation by ADP was not detected. Stimulation of pyruvate-supported O2 uptake by Pi suggests that acetate is produced via acetyl phosphate.
This paper reports for the first time the presence in the anaerobic rumen ciliate Dasytricha ruminantium (Schuberg) of microbody-like organelles, about 0.5 micrometer diameter, with a granular matrix and an equilibrium density of approx. 1.18 g/ml. These organelles can be isolated in a fraction sedimented at 10(5) g-min that contains 67% of the total pyruvate synthase (EC 220.127.116.11), 66% of the hydrogenase (EC 18.104.22.168) and 20% of the lactate dehydrogenase (EC 22.214.171.124). Thus in several respects this fraction is enzymically similar to those containing hydrogenosomes in some other parasitic anaerobic protozoa (the trichomonads). However, in contrast with the hydrogenosomes of trichomonads, the oxygen-tolerant enzyme malate dehydrogenase (decarboxylating) (EC 126.96.36.199) is not particulate, but occurs only in the cytosol. These results enable the proposal of a scheme for the pathway of product formation (acetate, lactate, CO2 and H2) from carbohydrates.