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Differential remodelling of peroxisome function underpins the environmental and metabolic adaptability of diplonemids and kinetoplastids

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor T. Martin Embley FMedSci FRS


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The remodelling of organelle function is increasingly appreciated as a central driver of eukaryotic biodiversity and evolution. Kinetoplastids including Trypanosoma and Leishmania have evolved specialized peroxisomes, called glycosomes. Glycosomes uniquely contain a glycolytic pathway as well as other enzymes, which underpin the physiological flexibility of these major human pathogens. The sister group of kinetoplastids are the diplonemids, which are among the most abundant eukaryotes in marine plankton. Here we demonstrate the compartmentalization of gluconeogenesis, or glycolysis in reverse, in the peroxisomes of the free-living marine diplonemid, Diplonema papillatum. Our results suggest that peroxisome modification was already under way in the common ancestor of kinetoplastids and diplonemids, and raise the possibility that the central importance of gluconeogenesis to carbon metabolism in the heterotrophic free-living ancestor may have been an important selective driver. Our data indicate that peroxisome modification is not confined to the kinetoplastid lineage, but has also been a factor in the success of their free-living euglenozoan relatives.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Morales J, Hashimoto M, Williams TA, Hirawake-Mogi H, Makiuchi T, Tsubouchi A, Kaga N, Taka H, Fujimura T, Koike M, Mita T, Bringaud F, Concepcion JL, Hashimoto T, Embley TM, Nara T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of the Royal Society B

Year: 2016

Volume: 283

Issue: 1830

Print publication date: 11/05/2016

Online publication date: 11/05/2016

Acceptance date: 12/04/2016

ISSN (print): 0962-8452

ISSN (electronic): 1471-2954

Publisher: Royal Society Publishing


DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0520


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Funder referenceFunder name
Royal Society University Research Fellowship
Wellcome Trust
European Advanced Investigator Programme
S1201013Foundation of Strategic Research Projects in Private Universities from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology, Japan (MEXT)