Elucidating the mitochondrial proteome of Toxoplasma gondii reveals the presence of a divergent cytochrome c oxidase

Elife. 2018 Sep 11;7:e38131. doi: 10.7554/eLife.38131.


The mitochondrion of apicomplexan parasites is critical for parasite survival, although the full complement of proteins that localize to this organelle has not been defined. Here we undertake two independent approaches to elucidate the mitochondrial proteome of the apicomplexan Toxoplasma gondii. We identify approximately 400 mitochondrial proteins, many of which lack homologs in the animals that these parasites infect, and most of which are important for parasite growth. We demonstrate that one such protein, termed TgApiCox25, is an important component of the parasite cytochrome c oxidase (COX) complex. We identify numerous other apicomplexan-specific components of COX, and conclude that apicomplexan COX, and apicomplexan mitochondria more generally, differ substantially in their protein composition from the hosts they infect. Our study highlights the diversity that exists in mitochondrial proteomes across the eukaryotic domain of life, and provides a foundation for defining unique aspects of mitochondrial biology in an important phylum of parasites.

Keywords: Toxoplasma; apicomplexans; infectious disease; microbiology; mitochondria; proteomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biotinylation
  • Computational Biology
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / metabolism*
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Membranes / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Parasites / growth & development
  • Parasites / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Phylogeny
  • Proteome / metabolism*
  • Proteomics
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism
  • Toxoplasma / growth & development
  • Toxoplasma / metabolism*


  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Proteome
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • Electron Transport Complex IV