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De novo synthesis of thiamine (vitamin B1) is the ancestral state in Plasmodium parasites – evidence from avian haemosporidians

Hellgren, Olof LU ; Bensch, Staffan LU and Videvall, Elin LU (2018) In Parasitology 145(8). p.1084-1089
Abstract

Parasites often have reduced genomes as their own genes become redundant when utilizing their host as a source of metabolites, thus losing their own de novo production of metabolites. Primate malaria parasites can synthesize vitamin B1 (thiamine) de novo but rodent malaria and other genome-sequenced apicomplexans cannot, as the three essential genes responsible for this pathway are absent in their genomes. The unique presence of functional thiamine synthesis genes in primate malaria parasites and their sequence similarities to bacterial orthologues, have led to speculations that this pathway was horizontally acquired from bacteria. Here we show that the genes essential for the de novo synthesis of thiamine are found also in... (More)

Parasites often have reduced genomes as their own genes become redundant when utilizing their host as a source of metabolites, thus losing their own de novo production of metabolites. Primate malaria parasites can synthesize vitamin B1 (thiamine) de novo but rodent malaria and other genome-sequenced apicomplexans cannot, as the three essential genes responsible for this pathway are absent in their genomes. The unique presence of functional thiamine synthesis genes in primate malaria parasites and their sequence similarities to bacterial orthologues, have led to speculations that this pathway was horizontally acquired from bacteria. Here we show that the genes essential for the de novo synthesis of thiamine are found also in avian Plasmodium species. Importantly, they are also present in species phylogenetically basal to all mammalian and avian Plasmodium parasites, i.e. Haemoproteus. Furthermore, we found that these genes are expressed during the blood stage of the avian malaria infection, indicating that this metabolic pathway is actively transcribed. We conclude that the ability to synthesize thiamine is widespread among haemosporidians, with a recent loss in the rodent malaria species.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Apicomplexa, auxotrophy, avian malaria, gene loss, plasmodium, thiamine
in
Parasitology
volume
145
issue
8
pages
1084 - 1089
publisher
Cambridge University Press
external identifiers
  • scopus:85042227285
ISSN
0031-1820
DOI
10.1017/S0031182017002219
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
b992024c-862d-4f09-bd42-6e14631f7b90
date added to LUP
2018-02-27 13:17:36
date last changed
2019-02-20 11:08:49
@article{b992024c-862d-4f09-bd42-6e14631f7b90,
  abstract     = {<p>Parasites often have reduced genomes as their own genes become redundant when utilizing their host as a source of metabolites, thus losing their own de novo production of metabolites. Primate malaria parasites can synthesize vitamin B<sub>1</sub> (thiamine) de novo but rodent malaria and other genome-sequenced apicomplexans cannot, as the three essential genes responsible for this pathway are absent in their genomes. The unique presence of functional thiamine synthesis genes in primate malaria parasites and their sequence similarities to bacterial orthologues, have led to speculations that this pathway was horizontally acquired from bacteria. Here we show that the genes essential for the de novo synthesis of thiamine are found also in avian Plasmodium species. Importantly, they are also present in species phylogenetically basal to all mammalian and avian Plasmodium parasites, i.e. Haemoproteus. Furthermore, we found that these genes are expressed during the blood stage of the avian malaria infection, indicating that this metabolic pathway is actively transcribed. We conclude that the ability to synthesize thiamine is widespread among haemosporidians, with a recent loss in the rodent malaria species.</p>},
  author       = {Hellgren, Olof and Bensch, Staffan and Videvall, Elin},
  issn         = {0031-1820},
  keyword      = {Apicomplexa,auxotrophy,avian malaria,gene loss,plasmodium,thiamine},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {8},
  pages        = {1084--1089},
  publisher    = {Cambridge University Press},
  series       = {Parasitology},
  title        = {De novo synthesis of thiamine (vitamin B<sub>1</sub>) is the ancestral state in Plasmodium parasites – evidence from avian haemosporidians},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0031182017002219},
  volume       = {145},
  year         = {2018},
}