Trypanosomatid protozoans depend upon exogenous sources of pteridines (pterins or folates) for growth. A broad spectrum pteridine reductase (PTR1) was recently identified in Leishmania major, whose sequence places it in the short chain alcohol dehydrogenase protein family although its enzymatic activities resemble dihydrofolate reductases. The properties of PTR1 suggested a role in essential pteridine salvage as well as in antifolate resistance. To prove this, we have characterized further the properties and relative roles of PTR1 and dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase in Leishmania pteridine metabolism, using purified enzymes and knockout mutants. Recombinant L. major and Leishmania tarentolae, and native L. major PTR1s, were tetramers of 30-kDa subunits and showed simila
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