Targeting and subcellular localization of Toxoplasma gondii catalase. Identification of peroxisomes in an apicomplexan parasite

Achim J. Kaasch, Keith A. Joiner

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37 Scopus citations


We sought to identify and characterize peroxisomes in the apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. To initiate this process, we first cloned and sequenced the gene for T. gondii catalase (EC, a marker enzyme for peroxisomes in eukaryotic cells. The gene predicts a protein of 57.2 kDa and 502 amino acids and has a strong homology to other eukaryotic catalases. A polyclonal antiserum raised against a glutathione S-transferase fusion protein recognized a single band with a molecular mass of 63 kDa by immunoblot. By immunofluorescence T. gondii catalase is present primarily in a punctate staining pattern anterior to the parasite nucleus. This compartment is distinguishable from other parasite organelles, namely micronemes, rhoptries, dense granules, and the apicoplast. Cytochemical visualization of catalase using diaminobenzidine precipitation gives a vesicular staining pattern anterior to the nucleus at the light level and round, vesicular structures with an estimated diameter of 100-300 nm by electron microscopy. T. gondii catalase has a putative C-terminal peroxisomal targeting signal in the last 3 amino acids (-AKM). Expression of T. gondii catalase in mammalian cells results in peroxisomal localization, whereas a construct lacking the targeting signal remains in the cytosol. Furthermore, addition of -AKM to the C terminus of chloramphenicol acetyltransferase is sufficient to target this protein to peroxisomes. These results provide the first evidence for peroxisomes in Apicomplexan parasites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1112-1118
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 14 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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