Entamoeba mitosomes play an important role in encystation by association with cholesteryl sulfate synthesis

Fumika Mi-ichi, Tomofumi Miyamoto, Shouko Takao, Ghulam Jeelani, Tetsuo Hashimoto, Hiromitsu Hara, Tomoyoshi Nozaki, Hiroki Yoshida

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52 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrogenosomes and mitosomes are mitochondrion-related organelles (MROs) that have highly reduced and divergent functions in anaerobic/microaerophilic eukaryotes. Entamoeba histolytica, a microaerophilic, parasitic amoebozoan species, which causes intestinal and extraintestinal amoebiasis in humans, possesses mitosomes, the existence and biological functions of which have been a longstanding enigma in the evolution of mitochondria. We previously demonstrated that sulfate activation, which is not generally compartmentalized to mitochondria, is a major function of E. histolytica mitosomes. However, because the final metabolites of sulfate activation remain unknown, the overall scheme of this metabolism and the role of mitosomes in Entamoeba have not been elucidated. In this study we purified and identified cholesteryl sulfate (CS) as a final metabolite of sulfate activation. We then identified the gene encoding the cholesteryl sulfotransferase responsible for synthesizing CS. Addition of CS to culture media increased the number of cysts, the dormant form that differentiates from proliferative trophozoites. Conversely, chlorate, a selective inhibitor of the first enzyme in the sulfate-activation pathway, inhibited cyst formation in a dose-dependent manner. These results indicate that CS plays an important role in differentiation, an essential process for the transmission of Entamoeba between hosts. Furthermore, we show that Mastigamoeba balamuthi, an anaerobic, free-living amoebozoan species, which is a close relative of E. histolytica, also has the sulfate-activation pathway in MROs but does not possess the capacity for CS production. Hence, we propose that a unique function of MROs in Entamoeba contributes to its adaptation to its parasitic life cycle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E2884-E2890
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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