|Phillips, M. A.; Coffino, P.; Wang, C. C.
|Cloning and sequencing of the ornithine decarboxylase gene from Trypanosoma brucei. Implications for enzyme turnover and selective difluoromethylornithine inhibition
|J Biol Chem
|Amino Acid Sequence
|Ornithine decarboxylase of the African trypanosome Trypanosoma brucei brucei had an estimated native molecular weight of 100,000 by gel filtration and a subunit molecular weight of 45,000 by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The gene encoding this enzyme, present in a single copy in T. brucei, was identified by mouse ornithine decarboxylase cDNA under relatively stringent conditions of hybridization and subcloned in a 5.9-kilobase (kb) SstI fragment from a cosmid clone into the plasmid pUC 19. This clone encompassed a 2.8-kb SstII fragment that contained the entire T. brucei ornithine decarboxylase gene. The 2.8-kb SstII fragment hybridized to a 2.4-kb mRNA that presumably encodes the parasite enzyme. The 2.8-kb SstII fragment was partially sequenced and found to contain an open reading frame of 445 amino acids that has 61.5% homology with the corresponding sequence of the mouse enzyme. The only major discrepancies between the two enzymes are the addition of a 20-amino acid N-terminal peptide and the deletion of a 36-amino acid C-terminal peptide and the T. brucei ornithine decarboxylase. The C terminus has been postulated to be one of the structural factors associated with rapid in vivo turnover of mammalian ornithine decarboxylase. The absence of this C-terminal peptide in T. brucei ornithine decarboxylase predicts a slow turnover for the parasite enzyme in vivo, and this is supported by our experimental data. The lack of turnover of ornithine decarboxylase in trypanosomes may constitute the basis of selective antitrypanosomal action of the irreversible enzyme inhibitor DL-alpha- difluoromethylornithine.