Glycolytic enzymes of Trypanosoma brucei. Simultaneous purification, intraglycosomal concentrations and physical properties

Eur J Biochem. 1986 Jun 2;157(2):441-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-1033.1986.tb09687.x.


We have developed a method for the simultaneous purification of hexokinase, glucosephosphate isomerase, phosphofructokinase, fructose-1,6-bisphosphate aldolase, triosephosphate isomerase, D-glyceraldehyde-phosphate dehydrogenase, phosphoglycerate kinase, glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and glycerol kinase from Trypanosoma brucei in yields varying over 8-55%. Crude glycosomes were prepared by differential centrifugation of cell homogenates. Subsequent hydrophobic interaction chromatography on phenyl-Sepharose resulted in six pools containing various mixtures of enzymes. These pools were processed via affinity chromatography (immobilized ATP), hydrophobic interaction chromatography (octyl-Sepharose) and ion-exchange chromatography (CM- and DEAE-cellulose) which resulted in the purification of all nine enzymes. The native enzyme and subunit molecular masses, as determined by gel filtration and gel electrophoresis under denaturing conditions, were compared with those of their homologous counterparts from other organisms. Trypanosomal hexokinase is a hexamer and differs in subunit composition from the mammalian enzymes (monomers) as well as in subunit size (51 kDa versus 96-100 kDa, respectively). Phosphofructokinase only differs in subunit size (51 kDa for T. brucei versus 80-90 kDa for mammals) but had identical subunit composition (tetrameric). The others all have the same subunit composition as their mammalian counterparts. Except for triosephosphate isomerase, all Trypanosoma enzymes have subunits which are 1-5 kDa larger in size. Together these nine enzymes contribute 3.3 +/- 1.6% to the total cellular protein of T. brucei and at least 90% to the total glycosomal protein. A comparison of calculated intraglycosomal concentrations of the enzymes with the glycosomal metabolite concentrations shows that in the case of aldolase, glyceraldehyde-phosphate dehydrogenase and phosphoglycerate kinase, the concentration of active sites is of the same order of magnitude as that of their reactants. A common feature of the glycosomal glycolytic enzymes (with the exception of glucosephosphate isomerase) is that they are highly basic proteins with pI values between 8.8 and 10.2, values which are 1-4 higher than in the case of their mammalian cytosolic counterparts and 3-6 higher than in the case of the various unicellular organisms. It is suggested that both the larger subunit size and the basic character of the T. brucei glycolytic proteins are involved in the routing of the enzymes from their site of biogenesis (the cytosol) towards their site of action (the glycosome).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Fructose-Bisphosphate Aldolase / isolation & purification
  • Glucose-6-Phosphate Isomerase / isolation & purification
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases / isolation & purification
  • Glycerol Kinase / isolation & purification
  • Glycerolphosphate Dehydrogenase / isolation & purification
  • Glycolysis*
  • Hexokinase / isolation & purification
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Molecular Weight
  • Phosphofructokinase-1 / isolation & purification
  • Phosphoglycerate Kinase / isolation & purification
  • Triose-Phosphate Isomerase / isolation & purification
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / enzymology*


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Glycerolphosphate Dehydrogenase
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases
  • Hexokinase
  • Phosphofructokinase-1
  • Glycerol Kinase
  • Phosphoglycerate Kinase
  • Fructose-Bisphosphate Aldolase
  • Triose-Phosphate Isomerase
  • Glucose-6-Phosphate Isomerase