Characterization of carbohydrate metabolism and demonstration of glycosomes in a Phytomonas sp. isolated from Euphorbia characias

Manuel Sanchez-Moreno, Demeter Lasztity, Isabelle Coppens, Fred R. Opperdoes

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86 Scopus citations


Phytomonas sp. isolated from Euphorbia characias was adapted to SDM-79 medium. Cells isolated in the early stationary phase of growth were analyzed for their capacity to utilize plant carbohydrates for their energy requirements. The cellulose-degrading enzymes amylase, amylomaltase, invertase, carboxymethylcellulase, and the pectin-degrading enzymes polygalacturonase and oligo-d-galactosiduronate lyase were present in Phytomonas sp. and were all, except for amylomaltase, excreted into the external medium. Glucose, fructose and mannose served as the major energy substrates. Catabolism of carbohydrates occurred mainly via aerobic glycolysis according to the Embden-Meyerhof pathway, of which all the enzymes were detected. Likewise, the end-products of glycolysis, acetate and pyruvate, glycerol, succinate and ethanol were detected in the culture medium, as were the enzymes responsible for their production. Mitochondria were incapable of oxidizing succinate, 2-oxoglutarate, pyruvate, malate and proline, but had a high capacity to oxidize glycerol 3-phosphate. This oxidation was completely inhibited by salicylhydroxamic acid. No cytochromes could be detected either in intact mitochondria or in sub-mitochondrial particles. Mitochondrial respiration was not inhibited by antimycin, azide or cyanide. The glycolytic enzymes, from hexokinase to phosphoglycerate kinase, and the enzymes glycerol kinase, glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, malate dehydrogenase and adenylate kinase, were all associated with glycosomes that had a buoyant density of about 1.24 g cm-1 in sucrose. Cytochemical staining revealed the presence of catalase in these organelles. The cytosolic enzyme pyruvate kinase was activated by fructose 2,6-bisphosphate, typical of all other pyruvate kinases from Kinetoplastida. The energy metabolism of the plant parasite Phytomonas sp. isolated from E. characias resembled that of the bloodstream form of the mammalian parasite Trypanosoma brucei.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-199
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbohydrate metabolism
  • Glycolysis
  • Glycosome
  • Hydrolase
  • Phytomonas
  • Respiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Molecular Biology


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