Subcellular localization of adenine and xanthine phosphoribosyltransferases in Leishmania donovani

Jan M. Zarella-Boitz, Nicolle Rager, Armando Jardim, Buddy Ullman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The subcellular location of a protein is a critical factor in its physiological function and an important consideration in therapeutic paradigms that target the protein. Because Leishmania donovani cannot synthesize purine nucleotides de novo, they rely predominantly upon therapeutically germane phosphoribosyltransferase (PRT) enzymes, hypoxanthine-guanine PRT (HGPRT), adenine PRT (APRT), and xanthine PRT (XPRT), for purine acquisition from the host. Previous studies have shown that the L. donovani HGPRT is localized to the glycosome, a fuel-metabolizing microbody that is unique to kinetoplastid parasites [J. Biol. Chem. 273 (1998) 1534]. The sequences of the other two PRTs indicate that XPRT, but not APRT, possesses a COOH-terminal tripeptide that mediates protein targeting to the glycosome. To determine definitively the intracellular milieu of APRT and XPRT, polyclonal antibodies were raised to each recombinant protein. APRT and XPRT were then shown by immunofluorescence to be localized to the cytosol and glycosome, respectively. The glycosomal milieu for XPRT was also verified by immunoelectron microscopy. Amputation of the glycosomal targeting signal from XPRT resulted in protein mislocalization to the cytosol, but the cytosolic xprt was still functional with respect to purine salvage. These studies establish that APRT is cytosolic and XPRT, like the homologous HGPRT, is glycosomal and demonstrate that a mutant xprt protein that mislocalizes to the cytosol is still functional and supports parasite viability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenine phosphoribosyltransferase
  • Glycosome
  • Leishmania donovani
  • Localization
  • Purines
  • Xanthine phosphoribosyltransferase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Molecular Biology


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