Author(s): Tomazic ML, Najle SR, Nusblat AD, Uttaro AD, Nudel CB, Tomazic ML, Najle SR, Nusblat AD, Uttaro AD, Nudel CB, Tomazic ML, Najle SR, Nusblat AD, Uttaro AD, Nudel CB, Tomazic ML, Najle SR, Nusblat AD, Uttaro AD, Nudel CB
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Abstract The gene TTHERM_00438800 (DES24) from the ciliate Tetrahymena thermophila encodes a protein with three conserved histidine clusters, typical of the fatty acid hydroxylase superfamily. Despite its high similarity to sterol desaturase-like enzymes, the phylogenetic analysis groups Des24p in a separate cluster more related to bacterial than to eukaryotic proteins, suggesting a possible horizontal gene transfer event. A somatic knockout of DES24 revealed that the gene encodes a protein, Des24p, which is involved in the dealkylation of phytosterols. Knocked-out mutants were unable to eliminate the C-24 ethyl group from C(29) sterols, whereas the ability to introduce other modifications, such as desaturations at positions C-5(6), C-7(8), and C-22(23), were not altered. Although C-24 dealkylations have been described in other organisms, such as insects, neither the enzymes nor the corresponding genes have been identified to date. Therefore, this is the first identification of a gene involved in sterol dealkylation. Moreover, the knockout mutant and wild-type strain differed significantly in growth and morphology only when cultivated with C(29) sterols; under this culture condition, a change from the typical pear-like shape to a round shape and an alteration in the regulation of tetrahymanol biosynthesis were observed. Sterol analysis upon culture with various substrates and inhibitors indicate that the removal of the C-24 ethyl group in Tetrahymena may proceed by a mechanism different from the one currently known.
This article was published in Eukaryot Cell
and referenced in Rice Research: Open Access