Energization-dependent Ca2+ accumulation in Trypanosoma brucei bloodstream and procyclic trypomastigotes mitochondria

Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1992 Dec;56(2):251-7. doi: 10.1016/0166-6851(92)90174-i.


The permeabilization of Trypanosoma brucei procyclic and bloodstream trypomastigotes with digitonin permitted the quantitative estimation of a mitochondrial membrane potential of the order of 130-140 mV, in both forms, using safranine O. Dependence on substrate oxidation and response of the procyclic mitochondrial membrane potential to phosphate, FCCP, valinomycin, and Ca2+ indicate that these mitochondria behave similarly to vertebrate mitochondria regarding the properties of their electrochemical proton gradient. In contrast, in bloodstream mitochondria, development of a membrane potential was independent of substrate oxidation and dependent on hydrolysis of ATP by the mitochondrial oligomycin-sensitive ATPase, as demonstrated by collapse of the membrane potential by oligomycin and its insensitivity to the respiratory chain-inhibitor antimycin A. Mitochondria of T. brucei bloodstream forms were also able to take up Ca2+ by an electrophoretic mechanism. This is the first report of the presence of a Ca2+ transport mechanism in an eukaryotic cell devoid of complete tricarboxylic acid cycle and respiratory chain, the activities of which are known to be regulated by changes in intramitochondrial calcium concentration in other cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Carbonyl Cyanide p-Trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone / pharmacology
  • Cell Cycle
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Phenazines / metabolism
  • Phosphates / pharmacology
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / metabolism*
  • Valinomycin / pharmacology


  • Phenazines
  • Phosphates
  • Valinomycin
  • Carbonyl Cyanide p-Trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • Calcium
  • safranine T