1887

Abstract

The microaerophilic flagellated protist , the commonest protozoal agent of intestinal infections worldwide, is of uncertain phylogeny, but is usually regarded as the earliest branching of the eukaryotic clades. Under strictly anaerobic conditions, a mass spectrometric investigation of gas production indicated a low level of generation of dihydrogen (2 nmol min per 10 organisms), about 10-fold lower than that in under similar conditions. Hydrogen evolution was O sensitive, and inhibited by 100 μM metronidazole. Fluorescent labelling of cells using monoclonal antibodies to typical hydrogenosomal enzymes from (malate enzyme, and succinyl-CoA synthetase α and β subunits), and to the large-granule fraction (hydrogenosome-enriched, also from ) gave no discrete localization of epitopes. Cell-free extracts prepared under anaerobic conditions showed the presence of a CO-sensitive hydrogenase activity. This first report of hydrogen production in a eukaryote with no recognizable hydrogenosomes raises further questions about the early branching status of ; the physiological characterization of its hydrogenase, and its recently elucidated gene sequence, will aid further phylogenetic investigations.

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2002-03-01
2020-09-22
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