Trypanosoma brucei: a model micro-organism to study eukaryotic phospholipid biosynthesis

Serricchio, Mauro; Bütikofer, Peter (2011). Trypanosoma brucei: a model micro-organism to study eukaryotic phospholipid biosynthesis. FEBS journal, 278(7), pp. 1035-46. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2011.08012.x

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Although the protozoan parasite, Trypanosoma brucei, can acquire lipids from its environment, recent reports have shown that it is also capable of de novo synthesis of all major phospholipids. Here we provide an overview of the biosynthetic pathways involved in phospholipid formation in T. brucei and highlight differences to corresponding pathways in other eukaryotes, with the aim of promoting trypanosomes as an attractive model organism to study lipid biosynthesis. We show that de novo synthesis of phosphatidylethanolamine involving CDP-activated intermediates is essential in T. brucei and that a reduction in its cellular content affects mitochondrial morphology and ultrastructure. In addition, we highlight that reduced levels of phosphatidylcholine inhibit nuclear division, suggesting a role for phosphatidylcholine formation in the control of cell division. Furthermore, we discuss possible routes leading to phosphatidylserine and cardiolipin formation in T. brucei and review the biosynthesis of phosphatidylinositol, which seems to take place in two separate compartments. Finally, we emphasize that T. brucei represents the only eukaryote so far that synthesizes all three sphingophospholipid classes, sphingomyelin, inositolphosphorylceramide and ethanolaminephosphorylceramide, and that their production is developmentally regulated.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Serricchio, Mauro and Bütikofer, Peter








Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:23

Last Modified:

06 Dec 2013 13:29

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URI: (FactScience: 213630)

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