Developmental regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis in Trypanosoma brucei

J Bioenerg Biomembr. 1994 Apr;26(2):179-91. doi: 10.1007/BF00763067.


The metabolism of Trypanosoma brucei undergoes a significant change as the parasite differentiates from the mammalian bloodstream form to the form found in the tse-tse fly vector. Because the mitochondria of bloodstream form cells lack cytochromes and several key citric acid cycle enzymes, the metabolism of these cells is mostly limited to glycolysis. The reducing equivalents generated by this process are passed to oxygen by a plant-like alternative oxidase. As cells differentiate to the insect form, they begin to oxidatively metabolize proline. The mitochondria of insect form cells contain functional, cytochrome-mediated electron transport chains and have complete complements of citric acid cycle enzymes. Although the characterization is far from complete, the nuclear and mitochondrial genes involved in the expression of these mitochondrial functions appear to be developmentally regulated at posttranscriptional and posttranslational levels. This review outlines some of the molecular processes that are associated with the developmental regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis and suggests some possible mechanisms of regulation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes, Protozoan
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • RNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / genetics
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / growth & development
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / metabolism*


  • Protozoan Proteins
  • RNA, Protozoan