Pneumocystis, an AIDS-associated opportunistic pathogen of the lung has some unusual features. This article focuses on work done by my group to understand the organism's distinct sterols. Although Pneumocystis is closely related to fungi, it lacks the major fungal sterol, ergosterol. Several Δ7 24-alkysterols synthesized by P. carinii are the same as those reported in some basidiomycete rust fungi. The 24-alkylsterols are synthesized by the action of S-adenosyl-l-methionine:C-24 sterol methyl transferase (SAM:SMT). Fungal SAM:SMT enzymes normally transfer only one methyl group to the C-24 position of the sterol side chain and the cells accumulate C28 24-alkylsterols. In contrast, the P. carinii SAM:SMT and those of some plants catalyze one or two methyl transfer reactions producing both C28 and C29 24-alkylsterols. However, unlike most fungi, plants, and the kinetoplastid flagellates Leishmania and Trypanosoma cruzi, P. carinii does not appear to form double bonds at C-5 of the sterol nucleus and C-22 of the sterol side chain. Furthermore, the P. carinii SAM:SMT substrate preference for C30 lanosterol differs from that of homologous enzymes in any other organisms studied. C31 24-Methylenelanosterol and C32 pneumocysterol, products of SAM:SMT activity on lanosterol, can accumulate in high amounts in some, but not all, human-derived Pneumocystis jiroveci populations.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 49 • No. 5