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0 Q&A 2409 Views Jun 20, 2021

Toxoplasma gondii is a highly prevalent protozoan pathogen throughout the world. As a eukaryotic intracellular pathogen, Toxoplasma ingests nutrients from host cells to support its intracellular growth. The parasites also encode full or partial metabolic pathways for the biosynthesis of certain nutrients, such as heme. Heme is an essential nutrient in virtually all living organisms, acting as a co-factor for mitochondrial respiration complexes. Free heme is toxic to cells; therefore, it gets conjugated to proteins or other metabolites to form a “labile heme pool,” which is readily available for the biosynthesis of hemoproteins. Previous literature has shown that Toxoplasma gondii carries a fully functional de novo heme biosynthesis pathway and principally depends on this pathway for intracellular survival. Our recent findings also showed that the parasite’s intracellular replication is proportional to the total abundance of heme within the cells. Moreover, heme abundance is linked to mitochondrial oxygen consumption for ATP production in these parasites; thus, they may need to regulate their cellular heme levels for optimal infection when present in different environments. Therefore, quantitative measurement of heme abundance within Toxoplasma will help us to understand the roles of heme in subcellular activities such as mitochondrial respiration and other events related to energy metabolism.

2 Q&A 31115 Views Sep 20, 2015
Heme is a common cofactor in proteins, found in hemoglobin, myoglobin, cytochrome P450, DGCR8, and nitric oxide synthase, among others. This protocol describes a method for quantifying heme that works best in purified protein samples. This protocol might be used to, for example, determine whether a given heme-binding protein is fully occupied by heme, thus allowing correlation of heme content with activity. This requires the absolute heme concentration and an accurate protein concentration. Another use is to determine the extinction coefficients of a heme-bound protein. This assay is fast, easy, and reproducible if done correctly.

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