Polyamine and Glutathione Biosynthetic Enzymes from Trypanosoma Brucei and Trypanosoma Cruzi

  • Lisa N. Kinch
  • Deirdre L. Brekken
  • Margaret A. Phillips


The polyamines putrescine and spermidine are ubiquitous cell growth factors that are synthesized from ornithine and S-adenosylmethionine (Fig. 1). Inhibition of the polyamine biosynthetic enzymes, or the knockout of genes encoding these enzymes, causes cell growth arrest in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, e.g. E. coli; (Tabor and Tabor, 1984), mammalian cells (Svensson and Persson, 1996), yeast (Cohn et al., 1980), and Trypanosoma brucei (Li et al., 1996). A number of inhibitors of polyamine biosynthesis have been demonstrated to be effective anti-trypanosomal agents (Wang, 1995), identifying these enzymes as drug targets for the treatment of trypanosomatid infections. In addition to the common pathway found in almost all cell types, protozoa from the family Trypanosomatidae synthesize a unique cofactor that is a conjugate of spermidine and glutathione (Fig. 1). This cofactor, trypanothione, is required to maintain redox balance in the cell (Fairlamb and Le Quesne, 1997).


Ornithine Decarboxylase Trypanosoma Cruzi Trypanosoma Brucei Buthionine Sulfoximine Subunit Interface 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa N. Kinch
    • 1
  • Deirdre L. Brekken
    • 1
  • Margaret A. Phillips
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Texas Southwestern Medical SchoolDallasUSA

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