Overexpression of a cytochrome b5 reductase-like protein causes kinetoplast DNA Loss in Trypanosoma brucei

Shawn A. Motyka, Mark E. Drew, Gokben Yildirir, Paul T. Englund

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The mitochondrial genome of trypanosomes, termed kinetoplast DNA (kDNA), contains thousands of minicircles and dozens of maxicircles topologically interlocked in a network. To identify proteins involved in network replication, we screened an inducible RNA interference-based genomic library for cells that lose kinetoplast DNA. In one cloned cell line with inducible kinetoplast DNA loss, we found that the RNA interference vector had aberrantly integrated into the genome resulting in overexpression of genes downstream of the integration site (Motyka, S. A., Zhao, Z., Gull, K., and Englund, P. T. (2004) Mol. Biochem. Parasitol. 134, 163-167). We now report that the relevant overexpressed gene encodes a mitochondrial cytochrome b5 reductase-like protein. This overexpression caused kDNA loss by oxidation/inactivation of the universal minicircle sequence-binding protein, which normally binds the minicircle replication origin and triggers replication. The rapid loss of maxicircles suggests that the universal minicircle sequence-binding protein might also control maxicircle replication. Several lines of evidence indicate that the cytochrome b5 reductase-like protein controls the oxidization status of the universal minicircle sequence-binding protein via tryparedoxin, a mitochondrial redox protein. For example, overexpression of mitochondrial tryparedoxin peroxidase, which utilizes tryparedoxin, also caused oxidation of the universal minicircle sequence-binding protein and kDNA loss. Furthermore, the growth defect caused by overexpression of cytochrome b5 reductase-like protein could be partially rescued by simultaneously overexpressing tryparedoxin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18499-18506
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 7 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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