The Journal of biological chemistry

Glycerol 3-phosphate alters Trypanosoma brucei hexokinase activity in response to environmental change.

PMID 21813651


The African trypanosome, Trypanosoma brucei, compartmentalizes some metabolic enzymes within peroxisome-like organelles called glycosomes. The amounts, activities, and types of glycosomal enzymes are modulated coincident with developmental and environmental changes. Pexophagy (fusion of glycosomes with acidic lysosomes) has been proposed to facilitate this glycosome remodeling. Here, we report that, although glycosome-resident enzyme T. brucei hexokinase 1 (TbHK1) protein levels are maintained during pexophagy, acidification inactivates the activity. Glycerol 3-phosphate, which is produced in vivo by a glycosome-resident glycerol kinase, mitigated acid inactivation of lysate-derived TbHK activity. Using recombinant TbHK1, we found that glycerol 3-P influenced enzyme activity at pH 6.5 by preventing substrate and product inhibition by ATP and ADP, respectively. Additionally, TbHK1 inhibition by the flavonol quercetin (QCN) was partially reversed by glycerol 3-P at pH 7.4, whereas at pH 6.5, enzyme activity in the presence of QCN was completely maintained by glycerol 3-P. However, glycerol 3-P did not alter the interaction of QCN with TbHK1, as the lone Trp residue (Trp-177) was quenched under all conditions tested. These findings suggest potential novel mechanisms for the regulation of TbHK1, particularly given the acidification of glycosomes that can be induced under a variety of parasite growth conditions.

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DL-α-Glycerol phosphate magnesium salt hydrate, ~85% (KT)
C3H7MgO6P · xH2O