Journal of biochemistry

Mitochondrial dehydrogenases in the aerobic respiratory chain of the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium yoelii yoelii.

PMID 19060309


In the intraerythrocytic stages of malaria parasites, mitochondria lack obvious cristae and are assumed to derive energy through glycolysis. For understanding of parasite energy metabolism in mammalian hosts, we isolated rodent malaria mitochondria from Plasmodium yoelii yoelii grown in mice. As potential targets for antiplasmodial agents, we characterized two respiratory dehydrogenases, succinate:ubiquinone reductase (complex II) and alternative NADH dehydrogenase (NDH-II), which is absent in mammalian mitochondria. We found that P. y. yoelii complex II was a four-subunit enzyme and that kinetic properties were similar to those of mammalian enzymes, indicating that the Plasmodium complex II is favourable in catalysing the forward reaction of tricarboxylic acid cycle. Notably, Plasmodium complex II showed IC(50) value for atpenin A5 three-order of magnitudes higher than those of mammalian enzymes. Divergence of protist membrane anchor subunits from eukaryotic orthologs likely affects the inhibitor resistance. Kinetic properties and sensitivity to 2-heptyl-4-hydroxyquinoline-N-oxide and aurachin C of NADH: ubiquinone reductase activity of Plasmodium NDH-II were similar to those of plant and fungus enzymes but it can oxidize NADPH and deamino-NADH. Our findings are consistent with the notion that rodent malaria mitochondria are fully capable of oxidative phosphorylation and that these mitochondrial enzymes are potential targets for new antiplasmodials.