Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 76, Issue 23, pp 4745–4768 | Cite as

Characterization of the peroxiredoxin 1 subfamily from Tetrahymena thermophila

  • Sarmad Al-Asadi
  • Arif Malik
  • Rigers Bakiu
  • Gianfranco Santovito
  • Ian Menz
  • Kathryn SchullerEmail author
Original Article


Peroxiredoxins are antioxidant enzymes that use redox active Cys residues to reduce H2O2 and various organic hydroperoxides to less reactive products, and thereby protect cells against oxidative stress. In yeasts and mammals, the Prx1 proteins are sensitive to hyperoxidation and consequent loss of their peroxidase activity whereas in most bacteria they are not. In this paper we report the characterization of the Prx1 family in the non-parasitic protist Tetrahymena thermophila. In this organism, four genes potentially encoding Prx1 have been identified. In particular, we show that the mitochondrial Prx1 protein (Prx1m) from T. thermophila is relatively robust to hyperoxidation. This is surprising given that T. thermophila is a eukaryote like yeasts and mammals. In addition, the proliferation of the T. thermophila cells was relatively robust to inhibition by H2O2, cumene hydroperoxide and plant natural products that are known to promote the production of H2O2. In the presence of these agents, the abundance of the T. thermophila Prx1m protein was shown to increase. This suggested that the Prx1m protein may be protecting the cells against oxidative stress. There was no evidence for any increase in Prx1m gene expression in the stressed cells. Thus, increasing protein stability rather than increasing gene expression may explain the increasing Prx1m protein abundance we observed.


Alveolates Ciliated protozoa Antioxidant enzymes Oxidative stress Plant natural products 










Funding was provided by Flinders University and a PhD scholarship awarded to Sarmad Al-Asadi by the Government of Iraq.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Science and EngineeringFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Biology, College of Education for Pure SciencesUniversity of BasrahBasrahIraq
  3. 3.Department of Aquaculture and FisheriesAgricultural University of TiranaTiranaAlbania
  4. 4.Department of BiologyUniversity of PadovaPaduaItaly

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