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The F0F1-ATP Synthase Complex Contains Novel Subunits and Is Essential for Procyclic Trypanosoma brucei

By Alena Zíková, Achim Schnaufer, Rachel A. Dalley, Aswini K. Panigrahi and Kenneth D. Stuart


The mitochondrial F0F1 ATP synthase is an essential multi-subunit protein complex in the vast majority of eukaryotes but little is known about its composition and role in Trypanosoma brucei, an early diverged eukaryotic pathogen. We purified the F0F1 ATP synthase by a combination of affinity purification, immunoprecipitation and blue-native gel electrophoresis and characterized its composition and function. We identified 22 proteins of which five are related to F1 subunits, three to F0 subunits, and 14 which have no obvious homology to proteins outside the kinetoplastids. RNAi silencing of expression of the F1 α subunit or either of the two novel proteins showed that they are each essential for the viability of procyclic (insect stage) cells and are important for the structural integrity of the F0F1-ATP synthase complex. We also observed a dramatic decrease in ATP production by oxidative phosphorylation after silencing expression of each of these proteins while substrate phosphorylation was not severely affected. Our procyclic T. brucei cells were sensitive to the ATP synthase inhibitor oligomycin even in the presence of glucose contrary to earlier reports. Hence, the two novel proteins appear essential for the structural organization of the functional complex and regulation of mitochondrial energy generation in these organisms is more complicated than previously thought

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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