How much (ATP) does it cost to build a trypanosome? A theoretical study on the quantity of ATP needed to maintain and duplicate a bloodstream-form Trypanosoma brucei cell

Janaina F. Nascimento, Rodolpho O. O. Souza, Mayke B. Alencar, Sabrina Marsiccobetre, Ana M. Murillo, Flávia S. Damasceno, Richard B. M. M. Girard, Letícia Marchese, Luis A. Luévano-Martinez, Renan W. Achjian, Jurgen R. Haanstra, Paul A. M. Michels*, Ariel Silber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

ATP hydrolysis is required for the synthesis, transport and polymerization of monomers for macromolecules as well as for the assembly of the latter into cellular structures. Other cellular processes not directly related to synthesis of biomass, such as maintenance of membrane potential and cellular shape, also require ATP. The unicellular flagellated parasite Trypanosoma brucei has a complex digenetic life cycle. The primary energy source for this parasite in its bloodstream form (BSF) is glucose, which is abundant in the host's bloodstream. Here, we made a detailed estimation of the energy budget during the BSF cell cycle. As glycolysis is the source of most produced ATP, we calculated that a single parasite produces 6.0 x 1011 molecules of ATP/cell cycle. Total biomass production (which involves biomass maintenance and duplication) accounts for ~63% of the total energy budget, while the total biomass duplication accounts for the remaining ~37% of the ATP consumption, with in both cases translation being the most expensive process. These values allowed us to estimate a theoretical YATP of 10.1 (g biomass)/mole ATP and a theoretical YATPmax of 28.6 (g biomass)/mole ATP. Flagellar motility, variant surface glycoprotein recycling, transport and maintenance of transmembrane potential account for less than 30% of the consumed ATP. Finally, there is still ~5.5% available in the budget that is being used for other cellular processes of as yet unknown cost. These data put a new perspective on the assumptions about the relative energetic weight of the processes a BSF trypanosome undergoes during its cell cycle.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1011522
Number of pages35
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Volume19
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2023

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