A Single Cysteine Residue in the Translocation Pathway of the Mitosomal ADP/ATP Carrier from Cryptosporidium parvum Confers a Broad Nucleotide Specificity
Cryptosporidiumparvum is a clinically important eukaryotic parasite that causes the disease cryptosporidiosis, which manifests with gastroenteritis-like symptoms. The protist has mitosomes, which are organelles of mitochondrial origin that have only been partially characterized. The genome encodes a highly reduced set of transport proteins of the SLC25 mitochondrial carrier family of unknown function. Here, we have studied the transport properties of one member of the C. parvum carrier family, demonstrating that it resembles the mitochondrial ADP/ATP carrier of eukaryotes. However, this carrier has a broader substrate specificity for nucleotides, transporting adenosine, thymidine, and uridine di- and triphosphates in contrast to its mitochondrial orthologues, which have a strict substrate specificity for ADP and ATP. Inspection of the putative translocation pathway highlights a cysteine residue, which is a serine in mitochondrial ADP/ATP carriers. When the serine residue is replaced by cysteine or larger hydrophobic residues in the yeast mitochondrial ADP/ATP carrier, the substrate specificity becomes broad, showing that this residue is important for nucleotide base selectivity in ADP/ATP carriers.