Molecular identification and characterization of an essential pyruvate transporter from trypanosoma brucei

Marco Sanchez

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10 Scopus citations


Pyruvate export is an essential physiological process for the bloodstream form of Trypanosoma brucei as the parasite would otherwise accumulate this end product of glucose metabolism to toxic levels. In the studies reported here, genetic complementation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been employed to identify a gene (TbPT0) that encodes this vital pyruvate transporter from T. brucei. Expression of TbPT0 in S. cerevisiae reveals that TbPT0 is a high affinity pyruvate transporter. TbPT0 belongs to a clustered multigene family consisting of five members, whose expression is up-regulated in the bloodstream form. Interestingly, TbPT family permeases are related to polytopic proteins from plants but not to characterized monocarboxylate transporters from mammals. Remarkably, inhibition of the TbPT gene family expression in bloodstream parasites by RNAi is lethal, confirming the physiological relevance of these transporters. The discovery of TbPT0 reveals for the first time the identity of the essential pyruvate transporter and provides a potential drug target against the mammalian life cycle stage of T. brucei.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14428-14437
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - May 17 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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