What controls glycolysis in bloodstream form Trypanosoma brucei?

B.M. Bakker, P.A.M. Michels, F.R. Opperdoes, H.V. Westerhoff

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    On the basis of the experimentally determined kinetic properties of the trypanosomal enzymes, the question is addressed of which step limits the glycolytic flux in bloodstream form Trypanosoma brucei. There appeared to be no single answer; in the physiological range, control shifted between the glucose transporter on the one hand and aldolase (ALD), glyceraldehyde-3- phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK), and glycerol- 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GDH) on the other hand. The other kinases, which are often thought to control glycolysis, exerted little control; so did the utilization of ATP. We identified potential targets for anti-trypanosomal drugs by calculating which steps need the least inhibition to achieve a certain inhibition of the glycolytic flux in these parasites. The glucose transporter appeared to be the most promising target, followed by ALD, GDH, GAPDH, and PGK. By contrast, in erythrocytes more than 95% deficiencies of PGK, GAPDH, or ALD did not cause any clinical symptoms (Schuster, R. and Holzhutter, H.-G. (1995) Eur. J. Biochem. 229, 403-418). Therefore, the selectivity of drugs inhibiting these enzymes may be much higher than expected from their molecular effects alone. Quite unexpectedly, trypanosomes seem to possess a substantial overcapacity of hexokinase, phosphofructokinase, and pyruvate kinase, making these 'irreversible' enzymes mediocre drug targets.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)14551-14559
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
    Issue number21
    Publication statusPublished - 1999


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