Genetic analysis of purine metabolism in leishmania donovani

Ho Yon Hwang, Buddy Ullman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To dissect the contributions of hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HGPRT), adenine phosphoribosyltransferase (APRT), and adenosine kinase (AK) to purine salvage in Leishmania donovani, null mutants genetically deficient in HGPRT and/or APRT were generated by targeted gene replacement in wild type cells and preexisting mutant strains lacking either APRT or AK activity. These knockouts were obtained either by double targeted gene replacement or by single gene replacement followed by negative selection for loss-of-heterozygosity. Genotypes were confirmed by Southern blotting and the resultant phenotypes evaluated by enzymatic assay, resistance to cytotoxic drugs, ability to incorporate radiolabeled purine bases, and growth on various purine sources. All mutant strains could propagate in defined growth medium containing any single purine source and could metabolize exogenous [3H]hypoxanthine to the nucleotide level. The surprising ability of mutant L. donovani lacking HGPRT, APRT, and/or AK to incorporate and grow in hypoxanthine could be attributed to the ability of the parasite xanthine phosphoribosyltransferase enzyme to salvage hypoxanthine. These genetic studies indicate that HGPRT, APRT, and AK, individually or in any combination, are not essential for the survival and growth of the promastigote stage of L. donovani and intimate an important, if not crucial, role for xanthine phosphoribosyltransferase in purine salvage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19488-19496
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number31
StatePublished - Aug 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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