The Role of Glutathione Peroxidases in Trypanosomatids

S. R. Wilkinson and J. M. Kelly


Reactive oxygen species are the unwanted by-products of aerobic metabolism. To protect cells against their potentially lethal effects a series of pathways have evolved that are collectively called the oxidative defence system. In most eukaryotes, catalases and selenium-dependent glutathione peroxidases form the front line of defence against hydroperoxide-mediated damage. However, these activities are lacking in members of the Trypanosomatidae family of protozoan parasites. Instead these organisms contain several enzyme-mediated pathways for removal of hydroperoxides that are centred upon the unusual thiol trypanothione. Here we discuss the biochemical properties of one group of these enzymes, the non-selenium glutathione-dependent peroxidases, and outline the roles that they play in protecting the parasite against hydroperoxides associated with biological membranes.

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Biological Chemistry keeps you up-to-date with the latest advances in the molecular life sciences. The journal publishes Research Articles, Short Communications, Reviews and Minireviews. Areas include: general biochemistry/pathobiochemistry, structural biology, molecular and cellular biology, genetics and epigenetics, virology, molecular medicine, plant molecular biology/biochemistry and novel experimental methodologies.