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Reference: Eckers E, et al. (2013) Divergent molecular evolution of the mitochondrial sulfhydryl:cytochrome C oxidoreductase Erv in opisthokonts and parasitic protists. J Biol Chem 288(4):2676-88

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Abstract


Mia40 and the sulfhydryl:cytochrome c oxidoreductase Erv1/ALR are essential for oxidative protein import into the mitochondrial intermembrane space in yeast and mammals. Although mitochondrial protein import is functionally conserved in the course of evolution, many organisms seem to lack Mia40. Moreover, except for in organello import studies and in silico analyses, nothing is known about the function and properties of protist Erv homologues. Here we compared Erv homologues from yeast, the kinetoplastid parasite Leishmania tarentolae, and the non-related malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Both parasite proteins have altered cysteine motifs, formed intermolecular disulfide bonds in vitro and in vivo, and could not replace Erv1 from yeast despite successful mitochondrial protein import in vivo. To analyze its enzymatic activity, we established the expression and purification of recombinant full-length L. tarentolae Erv and compared the mechanism with related and non-related flavoproteins. Enzyme assays indeed confirmed an electron transferase activity with equine and yeast cytochrome c, suggesting a conservation of the enzymatic activity in different eukaryotic lineages. However, although Erv and non-related flavoproteins are intriguing examples of convergent molecular evolution resulting in similar enzyme properties, the mechanisms of Erv homologues from parasitic protists and opisthokonts differ significantly. In summary, the Erv-mediated reduction of cytochrome c might be highly conserved throughout evolution despite the apparent absence of Mia40 in many eukaryotes. Nevertheless, the knowledge on mitochondrial protein import in yeast and mammals cannot be generally transferred to all other eukaryotes, and the corresponding pathways, components, and mechanisms remain to be analyzed.

Reference Type
Journal Article | Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Authors
Eckers E, Petrungaro C, Gross D, Riemer J, Hell K, Deponte M
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