The Trypanosoma cruzi proteins TcCox10 and TcCox15 catalyze the formation of heme A in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiologic agent for Chagas' disease, has requirements for several cofactors, one of which is heme. Because this organism is unable to synthesize heme, which serves as a prosthetic group for several heme proteins (including the respiratory chain complexes), it therefore must be acquired from the environment. Considering this deficiency, it is an open question as to how heme A, the essential cofactor for eukaryotic CcO enzymes, is acquired by this parasite. In the present work, we provide evidence for the presence and functionality of genes coding for heme O and heme A synthases, which catalyze the synthesis of heme O and its conversion into heme A, respectively. The functions of these T. cruzi proteins were evaluated using yeast complementation assays, and the mRNA levels of their respective genes were analyzed at the different T. cruzi life stages. It was observed that the amount of mRNA coding for these proteins changes during the parasite life cycle, suggesting that this variation could reflect different respiratory requirements in the different parasite life stages.

Palabras clave

Trypanosoma cruzi, heme A, cytochrome c oxidase, mitochondrial proteins, Chagas' disease