An energy-conserving pyruvate-to-acetate pathway in Entamoeba histolytica. Pyruvate synthase and a new acetate thiokinase

J Biol Chem. 1977 Jan 25;252(2):726-31.


Under anaerobic conditions, cells of Entamoeba histolytica grown with bacteria produce H2 and acetate while cells grown axenically produce neither. Aerobically, acetate is produced and O2 is consumed by amebae from either type of cells. Centrifuged extracts, 2.4 x 106 x g x min, from both types of cells contain pyruvate synthase (EC and an acetate thiokinase which, together, form a system capable of converting pyruvate to acetate. Pyruvate synthase catalyzes the reaction: pyruvate + CoA leads to CO2 + acetyl-CoA + 2E. Electron acceptors which function with this enzyme are FAD, FMN, riboflavin, ferredoxin, and methyl viologen, but not NAD or NADP. The amebal acetate thiokinase catalyzes the reaction acetyl-CoA + ADP + Pi leads to acetate + ATP + CoA. For this apparently new enzyme we suggest the trivial name acetyl-CoA-synthetase (ADP-forming). Extracts from axenic amebae do not contain hydrogenase, but extracts from cells grown with bacteria do. It is postulated that in bacteria-grown amebae electrons generated at the pyruvate synthase step are utilized anaerobically to produce H2 via the hydrogenase and that the acetyl-CoA is converted to acetate in an energy-conserving step catalyzed by amebal acetyl-CoA synthetase. Aerobically, cells grown under either regimen may utilize the energy-conserving pyruvate-to-acetate pathway since O2 then serves as the ultimate electron acceptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetate-CoA Ligase / isolation & purification
  • Acetate-CoA Ligase / metabolism*
  • Acetates / metabolism
  • Amoeba / enzymology*
  • Animals
  • Coenzyme A Ligases / metabolism*
  • Ketone Oxidoreductases / isolation & purification
  • Ketone Oxidoreductases / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Pyruvates
  • Species Specificity


  • Acetates
  • Pyruvates
  • Ketone Oxidoreductases
  • Coenzyme A Ligases
  • Acetate-CoA Ligase