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Comparative biochemistry of Giardia, Hexamita and Spironucleus: Enigmatic diplomonads

Lloyd, David and Williams, Catrin Ffion 2014. Comparative biochemistry of Giardia, Hexamita and Spironucleus: Enigmatic diplomonads. Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology 197 (1-2) , pp. 43-49. 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2014.10.002

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Abstract

The diplomonad genera are here represented by three highly diverse species, both free-living (Hexamita inflata), and parasitic (Spironucleus vortens and Giardia intestinalis). All three are moderately aerotolerant flagellates, inhabiting environments where O2 tensions are low and fluctuating. Many diplomonads are opportunistic pathogens of avian, terrestrial and aquatic animals. Hexamitids inhabit deep waters and sediments of lakes and marine basins, S. vortens commonly infects the intestinal tract of ornamental fish, particularly of cichlids and cyprinids, and G. intestinalis, the upper intestinal tracts of humans as well as domestic and farm animals. Despite these very different habitats, their known physiological and biochemical characteristics are similar, but they do differ in significant respects as their lifestyles and life cycles demand. They have efficient O2 scavenging systems, and are highly effective at countering rapid O2 fluctuations, or clustering away from its source (except for G. intestinalis when attached to the jejunal villi). Their core metabolic pathways (glycolysis using pyrophosphate), incomplete tricarboxylic acid cycle (lacking α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase), and amino acid metabolism (with an alternative energy-generating arginine dihydrolase pathway as a possibility in some cases), largely conform to those of other protists inhabiting low-O2 environments. Mitochondrial evolutionary reduction to give hydrogenosomes as seen in Spironucleus spp. has proceeded further to its minimal state in the mitosomes of G. intestinalis. Understanding of essential redox reactions and the maintentence of redox state, especially in the infective encysted stage of G. intestinalis provide increasing possibilities for parasite control. To this aim a plethora of new synthetic chemicals and natural products (especially those from garlic, Allium sativum) show promise as replacements for the highly effective (but potentially toxic to higher organisms) 5-nitroimidazoles (e.g., metronidazole) in the treatment and/or prevention of dimplomonad infection in humans and animals.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cytoskeleton; Hydrogenosomes; Mitosomes; Oxygen scavenging; Encystment; 5-Nitroimidazoles
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0166-6851
Date of Acceptance: 3 October 2014
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2019 23:00
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/72491

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