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Evidence for the bacterial origin of genes encoding fermentation enzymes of the amitochondriate protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica.

By B Rosenthal, Z Mai, D Caplivski, S Ghosh, H de la Vega, T Graf and J Samuelson


Entamoeba histolytica is an amitochondriate protozoan parasite with numerous bacterium-like fermentation enzymes including the pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase (POR), ferredoxin (FD), and alcohol dehydrogenase E (ADHE). The goal of this study was to determine whether the genes encoding these cytosolic E. histolytica fermentation enzymes might derive from a bacterium by horizontal transfer, as has previously been suggested for E. histolytica genes encoding heat shock protein 60, nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase, and superoxide dismutase. In this study, the E. histolytica por gene and the adhE gene of a second amitochondriate protozoan parasite, Giardia lamblia, were sequenced, and their phylogenetic positions were estimated in relation to POR, ADHE, and FD cloned from eukaryotic and eubacterial organisms. The E. histolytica por gene encodes a 1,620-amino-acid peptide that contained conserved iron-sulfur- and thiamine pyrophosphate-binding sites. The predicted E. histolytica POR showed fewer positional identities to the POR of G. lamblia (34%) than to the POR of the enterobacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae (49%), the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. (44%), and the protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis (46%), which targets its POR to anaerobic organelles called hydrogenosomes. Maximum-likelihood, neighbor-joining, and parsimony analyses also suggested as less likely E. histolytica POR sharing more recent common ancestry with G. lamblia POR than with POR of bacteria and the T. vaginalis hydrogenosome. The G. lamblia adhE encodes an 888-amino-acid fusion peptide with an aldehyde dehydrogenase at its amino half and an iron-dependent (class 3) ADH at its carboxy half. The predicted G. lamblia ADHE showed extensive positional identities to ADHE of Escherichia coli (49%), Clostridium acetobutylicum (44%), and E. histolytica (43%) and lesser identities to the class 3 ADH of eubacteria and yeast (19 to 36%). Phylogenetic analyses inferred a closer relationship of the E. histolytica ADHE to bacterial ADHE than to the G. lamblia ADHE. The 6-kDa FD of E. histolytica and G. lamblia were most similar to those of the archaebacterium Methanosarcina barkeri and the delta-purple bacterium Desulfovibrio desulfuricans, respectively, while the 12-kDa FD of the T. vaginalis hydrogenosome was most similar to the 12-kDa FD of gamma-purple bacterium Pseudomonas putida. E. histolytica genes (and probably G. lamblia genes) encoding fermentation enzymes therefore likely derive from bacteria by horizontal transfer, although it is not clear from which bacteria these amebic genes derive. These are the first nonorganellar fermentation enzymes of eukaryotes implicated to have derived from bacteria

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1997
DOI identifier: 10.1128/jb.179.11.3736-3745.1997
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
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