Trypanosomatid parasitic protozoans of the genus Leishmania are autotrophic for both folate and unconjugated pteridines. Leishmania salvage these metabolites from their mammalian hosts and insect vectors through multiple transporters. Within the parasite, folates are reduced by a bifunctional DHFR (dihydrofolate reductase)-TS (thymidylate synthase) and by a novel PTR1 (pteridine reductase 1), which reduces both folates and unconjugated pteridines. PTR1 can act as a metabolic bypass of DHFR inhibition, reducing the effectiveness of existing antifolate drugs. Leishmania possess a reduced set of folate-dependent metabolic reactions and can salvage many of the key products of folate metabolism from their hosts. For example, they lack purine synthesis, which normally requires 10-formyltetrahydrofolate, and instead rely on a network of purine salvage enzymes. Leishmania elaborate at least three pathways for the synthesis of the key metabolite 5,10-methylene-tetrahydrofolate, required for the synthesis of thymidylate, and for 10-formyltetrahydrofolate, whose presumptive function is for methionyl-tRNAMet formylation required for mitochondrial protein synthesis. Genetic studies have shown that the synthesis of methionine using 5-methyltetrahydrofolate is dispensable, as is the activity of the glycine cleavage complex, probably due to redundancy with serine hydroxymethyltransferase. Although not always essential, the loss of several folate metabolic enzymes results in attenuation or loss of virulence in animal models, and a null DHFR-TS mutant has been used to induce protective immunity. The folate metabolic pathway provides numerous opportunities for targeted chemotherapy, with strong potential for ‘repurposing' of compounds developed originally for treatment of human cancers or other infectious agents.
Folic acid and related pteridines are essential cofactors in all forms of life, playing critical roles in key metabolic interconversions involving or leading to the transfer of C1 (one-carbon) units . Folic acid is a ‘conjugated' pteridine, where the pteridine ring is linked to pABA (p-aminobenzoic acid), which is in turn glutamylated (Figure 1). Within cells, folate is further polyglutamylated, a modification that aids retention and compartmentalization. Unconjugated pteridines also play important roles in many organisms, although the present chapter will concentrate on the folate pathways. Folates are typically involved in reactions involving the transfer of single-carbon moieties, and these pathways are often referred to collectively as ‘C1 metabolism'.
Pteridine metabolism has long been studied in Leishmania and related trypanosomatids. Historically, the activity of biopterin in any organism was revealed by its requirement for growth of the insect trypanosomatid Crithidia fasciculata. This bioassay led to the understanding of biopterin's role as a cofactor for amino acid hydroxylases, followed by nitric oxide synthase and ether lipid cleavage enzymes . Subsequent studies showed that trypanosomatid protozoans are general pteridine auxotrophs, requiring exogenous pteridines to satisfy their needs for both unconjugated and conjugated pteridines (Figure 1). In contrast, many prokaryotes and many eukaryotes can synthesize both forms. Notably, both the insect and mammalian hosts of trypanosomatid parasites synthesize unconjugated pteridines including biopterin de novo, but must acquire folate from the gut (Figure 1).
The extent to which Leishmania can interconvert unconjugated pteridines into folates is a matter of some debate. Leishmania can generally grow when provided with biopterin alone. However, the presence of trace levels of folate from serum or other medium components and Leishmania's high-affinity FTs (folate transporters) system compromises inferences as to whether Leishmania uses biopterin to synthesize folate . Although Leishmania donovani can convert radiolabelled biopterin into folic acid , Leishmania cannot incorporate radiolabelled pABA , and genes homologous with those of other species carrying out such interconversions are not apparent in Leishmania genomes. Thus the contribution of de novo synthesis is unknown. Regardless, it is clear that African trypanosomes and the species of Leishmania studied have independent requirements for biopterin and folate.
Historically, knowledge of the folate metabolic pathway was driven by the discoveries of researchers such as George Hitchings  that compounds such as trimethoprim or methotrexate inhibit folate metabolism, providing key tools for subsequent dissection of folate metabolic pathways. Some decades later, the use of folate-pathway inhibitors has proven similarly important in probing not only the role of these pathways in normal Leishmania metabolism, but also their role in drug resistance. In particular, studies of drug-induced gene amplification have been critical in establishing tools for Leishmania molecular genetics [7,8].
Current research encompasses the characterization and role(s) of specific folate-pathway enzymes in metabolism, in virulence, in resistance to antifolates and as the targets for new drugs. In the present chapter we will take a ‘cofactor's eye' view of Leishmania metabolism and interconversions of folates, and highlight differences with other trypanosomatids en route. Two previous reviews provide a good perspective on Leishmania pterin and general metabolism [8,9]
Acquisition of folates and pteridines
Leishmania species acquire folates via active transport [10,11], using two different transporters that were first identified by functional studies of methotrexate-resistant mutants. These related proteins belong to the FBT (folate–biopterin transporter) superfamily of transporters [8,12,13]. Genetic, and more recently genomic, studies have shown that the FT subfamily comprises more than ten genes in most Leishmania species, found dispersed on several chromosomes as well as in a cluster that is found on chromosome 10 in Leishmania major (Table 1). Functional studies in L. donovani and Leishmania tarentolae have implicated at least two members of the FT family as encoding high-affinity transporters able to mediate uptake of folates and methotrexate, but not unconjugated pteridines [12,13]. In contrast, BT1 (biopterin transporter 1), the sole member of the second FBT subfamily, mediates uptake of biopterin and folate, but not methotrexate [12,13].
Interestingly, both the BT1 locus and the broadly acting PTR1 (pteridine reductase 1; described below) often undergo spontaneous genetic amplification as extra-chromosomal linear or circular elements; this can also follow selection for antifolate resistance. In contrast, spontaneous modifications of FT genes or DHFR (dihydrofolate reductase)-TS (thymidylate synthase) have not been observed, with the alteration/amplification of these genes being driven only by drug pressure . These findings implicate unconjugated pteridine metabolic pathways as chemotherapeutic targets, and also suggest that cultured Leishmania may be under pteridine limitation, unless provided with exogenous biopterin. As noted earlier, both the insect and mammalian hosts synthesize unconjugated pteridines de novo, often at high levels , consistent with the idea that Leishmania normally lives in a pterin-rich environment.
Although members of the FBT family are often annotated in genome databases as pteridine transporters, these assignments should be viewed cautiously, as recently a member of this gene family was shown to mediate the specific transport of SAM (S-adenosylmethionine) . The future characterization of the specificity of other members of the FBT family should prove very interesting. It seems likely that the presence of multiple pteridine transporters could pose a challenge for attempts to block folate uptake as part of chemotherapy.
Following uptake, folates are typically metabolized further to form folylpolyglutamates, through the action of FPGS (folylpolyglutamate synthetase) . Polyglutamylation may play two roles, first aiding the retention of folates within cells, and secondly assisting their compartmentalization within the cell – although this role is less well understood. Leishmania species possess a single FPGS gene, and FPGS over- or under-expression in L. tarentolae resulted in increased or decreased levels of folylpolyglutamates (with Glu4–6 predominating). This caused corresponding changes in the parasites' resistance to methotrexate, which is less efficiently polyglutamylated by FPGS [16–18]. Efforts to generate FPGS-homozygous replacements were unsuccessful, suggesting that this gene may be essential . De-glutamylating activities have also been reported, although their roles other than contributing to methotrexate resistance have not been explored .
Activation of folate to tetrahydrofolate by DHFR and PTR1
The active forms of both folate and biopterin are the reduced tetrahydro-derivatives, which arise in Leishmania through the action of DHFR or the alternative pteridine reductase PTR1. In trypanosomatids and other protozoans, as well as in plants, DHFR is encoded as a fusion protein with TS, with which it functions as part of the de novo cycle for dTMP synthesis  (Figure 2), as discussed below. Functional and structural studies show that trypanosomatid DHFRs generally resemble those of other species. In contrast, structural and enzymatic studies revealed that PTR1 is a member of the SDR (short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase) family [8,20,21]. Interestingly, the SDR family has proven an evolutionary source for the emergence of a number of pteridine metabolic enzymes, including QDPR (quinonoid dihydropteridine reductase) and other novel pteridine reductases in prokaryotes .
In laboratory-adapted Leishmania, DHFR-TS is essential in the absence of exogenous thymidine . dhfr-ts-null mutants survive for less than 60 days within the animal host, where salvage of reduced folates and thymidylate appears to be insufficient, rendering parasites unable to cause disease but able to confer good protection from subsequent challenge with virulent organisms . Similarly, PTR1 is not essential in attenuated laboratory-adapted strains [20,25], nor required for animal virulence there . However, it has proven impossible to ablate DHFR-TS in fully virulent L. major , and similarly it has proven difficult to ablate PTR1 in virulent L. major without a concomitant irreversible attenuation of animal infectivity (D. A. Scott and S.M. Beverley, unpublished work). These studies challenge the notion that we fully understand the role of the pteridine metabolites in virulent Leishmania relevant to human disease, and hint at new and/or unexplored roles for pteridines.
In trypanosomes, PTR1 appears to be essential . This may arise from the finding that trypanosomes lack QDPR genes, and must rely upon the QDPR activity of PTR1, whereas Leishmania bear an array of active QDPR genes. Thus trypanosomes may use PTR1 to ‘bypass' QDPR in a manner not employed by Leishmania.
Unlike many other species, Leishmania DHFR is unable to reduce unconjugated pteridines, which can only be activated by PTR1  (Figure 2). However, both enzymes are able to reduce folate through to H4F (also called THF; tetrahydrofolate). Thus trypanosomatid PTR1s provide an alternative metabolic bypass for H4F synthesis. Although enzymatic and genetic studies have established that DHFR is responsible for the bulk of H4F synthetic activity in cells , the PTR1 bypass acts to greatly mitigate antifolate susceptibility [20,21,25]. This arises primarily from the fact that PTR1 is much less sensitive to conventional antifolates (more than 1000-fold less so for the classic inhibitor methotrexate ).
The PTR1 bypass of DHFR thus accounts for the lack of success of most efforts to develop antifolates against trypanosomatids. This illustrates how understanding mechanisms of drug action and resistance in turn serves to guide future efforts [29,30]. One approach has been to identify agents able to inhibit both DHFR and PTR1; although several have been identified, the enzymes' structural divergence makes this a daunting task. A second approach has focused on targeting the two activities with two separate inhibitors [29–31]. Notably, the essentiality of PTR1 in trypanosomes suggests that PTR1-selective inhibitors may work well in that species, whereas in Leishmania joint inhibition may be necessary, due to the retention of QDPR. This raises the interesting possibility that anti-QDPR inhibitors could be employed productively against Leishmania. A number of efforts employing structural and chemical biological approaches targeting these three pteridine reductases are now underway, promising to yield effective anti-trypanosomatid antifolates in the future [31,32].
Methylene-H4F (5,10-CH2-tetrahydrofolate): the crossroads of C1-THF metabolism
Once formed, H4F enters C1 metabolism through the activity of either SHMT (serine hydroxymethyltransferase), which uses serine as a C1 donor to form glycine and methylene-H4F (Figure 3), or the GCC (glycine cleavage complex), which takes glycine and H4F to form methylene-H4F, CO2 and NH3 (Figure 3). Thereafter methylene-H4F plays a central and critical role in C1 metabolism, leading to dTMP synthesis by TS, to methionine synthesis via MTHFR (methylene-H4F reductase) or to 10-CHO-H4F (10-formyltetrahydrofolate) synthesis via the action of DHCH (methylene-H4F dehydrogenase/methenyl-H4F cyclohydrolase).
SHMT is encoded by two different genes in Leishmania, which encode separate proteins targeted to the cytosol or mitochondrion  (Figure 3 and Table 1). This arrangement is seen in other eukaryotes as well and provides some opportunity for both functional redundancy and specialization. Both SHMT mRNAs were up-regulated in amastigotes (4-fold), and were modulated to various extents by exogenous glycine, serine or folates .
A second reaction mediated by SHMT involves the synthesis of 5-CHO-H4F, the significance of which is enigmatic, since it inhibits several folate-dependent enzymes and has no known unique metabolic function . To prevent its accumulation and potential toxicity, organisms including Leishmania (Table 1) express FCL (5-CHO-H4F cycloligase), which uses ATP to transform 5-CHO-H4F into 5,10-methenyl-H4F, one of the intermediate substrates of DHCH (see below). Unlike the two SHMT genes whose proteins are targeted to different compartments, Leishmania has only a single identified FCL, which lacks a recognizable mitochondrial-targeting sequence. The predicted cytosolic localization would place it in the same compartment as DHCH1, which is required for further metabolism of the 5,10-methenyl-H4F product of FCL (Figure 3).
The glycine cleavage complex (GCC)
The GCC is typically found in the mitochondrion as a loose multi-enzyme complex whose members do not occur stoichiometrically. Leishmania and trypanosomes bear clear orthologues of the GCC P-protein encoded by GCV-P (which mediates the first decarboxylation step), the folate-binding aminomethyl transferase GCC T-protein (encoded by GCV-T), the dihydrolipoamide carrier GCC H-protein (encoded by GCV-H) and DHLDH (dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase) (Table 1). DHLDH plays important roles for several other mitochondrial proteins, and the trypanosomatid genomes predict several additional DHLDH-like proteins whose metabolic activities or roles have not been established [35,36] (Table 1). Like SHMT, GCC mRNAs are up-regulated in amastigotes, under the control of their 3′ untranslated regions . Null mutants lacking GCVP (gcvp−) lacked GCC activity as expected , but were viable when cultured in vitro. gcvp− mutants were more sensitive to methotrexate, and their growth was reduced by serine limitation, but they were able to infect mice, albeit with some attenuation. This suggests that Leishmania cannot scavenge sufficient serine in vivo to enable SHMT to fully compensate for the loss of GCC activity.
The importance of methylene-H4F to Leishmania is underscored by the occurrence of three potentially redundant systems for its synthesis, and thus future studies will need to probe the relative contributions of all three enzymes to viability, drug susceptibility and virulence. Curiously, the methylene-H4F pathways appear more circumscribed in trypanosomes, with a complete absence of SHMT in African trypanosomes. Thus, in T. brucei, one could predict a more prominent role for GCC activity, and this may be a particularly attractive area for future studies, both functionally and as a potential ‘weakest link' for chemotherapy.
Although most folate-dependent metabolites can be salvaged reasonably well from the host, thymidine typically occurs at levels insufficient to meet the demands for parasite viability. The sole metabolic route towards thymidine synthesis in eukaryotes is TS . Although in most creatures DHFR and TS are both monofunctional, in trypanosomatids and other protozoans, and in plants, TS is fused to the C-terminus of DHFR . This may reflect a unique aspect of the TS enzymatic reaction, which takes dUMP and methylene-H4F to form dTMP and H2F (dihydrofolate), differing from all other known C1-folate-utilizing enzymes in oxidizing H4F. Co-joining of these two activities could help to ensure a functional co-regulation necessary to avoid depletion of H4F, and/or cellular co-localization required to drive dTMP synthesis. Interestingly, DHFR-TS typically bears a short N-terminal extension ahead of the DHFR domain, which may act as a weak organellar-targeting signal, thus accounting for the presence of DHFR-TS in both cytosolic and mitochondrial compartments [39,40] (Figure 3).
The importance of TS activity in Leishmania and trypanosomes has been clearly shown by genetic ablation studies [23,41], and Leishmania dhfr-ts− mutants cannot survive long within the mammalian host unless exceptional measures are taken to provide high and near-toxic levels of thymidine . Despite genetic validation as a drug target in both trypanosomes and Leishmania, remarkably little effort has gone into developing species-selective inhibitors against TS. However, a few inhibitors selective for Leishmania TS over DHFR exist  and species-selective TS inhibitors have been reported . For the bifunctional DHFR-TS, structural studies have revealed differences potentially suitable for inhibitor design , including the N-terminal leader peptide and the ‘bridge' between DHFR-TS domains . The close proximity of the DHFR and TS catalytic sites raises the possibility of ‘bridged' inhibitors able to synergistically thymidylate synthesis at two successive steps.
Synthesis of methionine requires methyl-H4F: a non-essential pathway?
The metabolic demands and flux through the methionine biosynthetic pathways are substantial in trypanosomatids. Methionine plays critical roles, as an essential amino acid and for formation of SAM, which is required for essential methylation reactions and the synthesis of polyamines. Polyamines are critically important in trypanosomatids for the synthesis of trypanothione, the major cellular thiol . Methionine can be salvaged or synthesized by methionine synthase, which uses methyl-H4F and homocysteine to produce methionine and H4F (Figure 3). Homocysteine can be taken up or arise through the activity of SAM-dependent methylations. Two predicted MetS (methionyl-tRNA synthetase) genes are found in the L. major genome, one showing similarity to the cobalamin-dependent MetS and one the cobalamin-independent MetS, which may have been acquired by lateral gene transfer from prokaryotes (Table 1). Neither the function nor localization of these two proteins has been explored. In other eukaryotes MetS is located in the cytosol, and neither predicted Leishmania protein bears a clear mitochondrial-targeting sequence.
MetS proteins require a source of 5-CH3-H4F (5-methyltetrahydrofolate), which could be acquired by salvage as this is the predominant reduced folate in mammalian serum. Methyl-H4F arises intracellularly from methylene-H4F through the action of MTHFR. Unlike most species, Leishmania MTHFR utilizes either NADH or NADPH and lacks allosteric regulation . Whereas under conditions of methionine limitation mthfr-null mutants grew less well, in standard culture medium they grew normally and showed wild-type infectivity in susceptible mice . mthfr-null mutants were unable to use homocysteine in place of methionine and lacked detectable methyl-H4F, showing that no alternative path for methyl-H4F synthesis exists in Leishmania.
Thus under the conditions tested in vitro or in vivo, provision of methionine via MTHFR, and presumably by either or both MetS proteins, is not limiting. African trypanosomes have gone a step further and have retained neither METS nor MTHFR.
10-CHO-THF: the second critical form of C1-folate
10-CHO-H4F is generated either by the ATP-dependent ligation of formate and H4F, catalysed by FTL (formyltetrahydrofolate ligase), or the oxidation of 5,10-CH2-H4F to 5,10-CH=H4F (5,10-methenyltetrahydrofolate), catalysed by a methylene-tetrahydrofolate DH (dehydrogenase) and then hydrolysis of methenyltetrahydrofolate by a CH (cyclohydrolase). These activities are found in various configurations, ranging from monofunctional FTLs, bifunctional DHCHs or even, in organisms such as yeast, all three activities combined in a single multifunctional polypeptide termed the C1-synthase . Adding to the complexity, in eukaryotes, different isoforms of these enzymes can be found in either the mitochondrion or the cytosol.
In L. major, 10-CHO-H4F is produced by a cytosolic monofunctional FTL and a cytosolic bifunctional DHCH1 . L. major also encodes a DHCH pseudogene (pseDHCH2)  (Table 1), but Leishmania braziliensis and trypanosomes lack a DHCH2-related gene. Interestingly, the genomes of L. donovani and Leishmania mexicana suggest the presence of an intact DHCH2, bearing an N-terminal extension resembling mitochondrial-targeting sequences, and heterologously expressed Leishmania infantum DHCH2 was localized to the mitochondrion of L. major . Attempts to demonstrate enzymatic activity of DHCH2 in vitro or in vivo were unsuccessful. Thus in L. major and perhaps all trypanosomatids, 10-CHO-H4F synthetic activities occur exclusively in the cytosol.
Known roles of 10-CHO-H4F include the de novo synthesis of purines and the formylation of the mitochondrial initiator methionyl-tRNAMet (fMet-tRNAMet). However Leishmania and other trypanosomatids (other than those bearing endosymbionts) lack the de novo purine synthetic pathway. Trypanosomatids maintain pathways involved in the synthesis of formylated initiator tRNAMet, as deduced from genome sequencing, which predicts the presence of the formyl transferase, the mitochondrial IF2 (translation-initiation factor 2) that binds formylated initiator tRNAMet, and peptide deformylases (Table 1 and Figure 3), and synthesize fMet-tRNAMet . Curiously, trypanosomes formylate the eukaryotic-type elongator tRNAMet-e after import into the mitochondrion for initiation of protein synthesis, rather than the tRNAMet-i used for this purpose by other species . There is considerable debate about the requirement for initiator Met-tRNAMet formylation, with genetic studies in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes yielding divergent conclusions – often within the same species . RNAi (RNA interference) studies in trypanosomes showed little phenotype when targeting solely FMT, but strong growth inhibition when both FMT and IF2 were targeted simultaneously .
In mammals and yeast, metabolic labelling suggests that the formation of mitochondrial methylene-H4F through the activities of FTL and DHCH is a major source of active C1 units . A Leishmania ftl-null mutant had no detectable phenotype in vitro or in vivo and trypanosomes lacked FTL, implying that methylene-H4F arising from serine (SHMT) or glycine (GCC) is sufficient. When the activity of these pathways was reduced through serine or glycine limitation, growth of the L. major ftl-null mutant was inhibited, suggesting that formate can be incorporated into methylene-H4F.
In L. major, DHCH1 is essential, despite the continued presence of FTL, and pharmacological inhibition by a substrate/transition-state analogue suggests that this enzyme has potential as a drug target . Loss of DHCH1 could be rescued, however, by overexpression of FTL, establishing definitely by ‘metabolite complementation' that 10-CHO-THF is the essential metabolite. Thus it seems likely that mitochondrial Met-tRNAMet formylation accounts for the essentiality of 10-CHO-H4F. However, novel roles cannot be ruled out, neither can a role for the DHCH intermediate 5-10-methenyl-H4F be excluded. If required for mitochondrial Met-tRNAMet formylation, there must be some pathway for 10-CHO-H4F transport from the cytosolic site of synthesis into the mitochondrion in both Leishmania and trypanosomes.
Novel roles for folates in Leishmania: YGFZ and iron–sulfur cluster protein function
As noted earlier, there is ample reason to believe that novel roles for pteridines remain to be discovered in trypanosomatids. One recent example involves the mitochondrial protein YGFZ . This protein shows structural homology with GCV-T, which binds folate as part of the aminotransferase step of the glycine cleavage reaction. Modelling studies suggested that EcYgfZ (Escherichia coli YgfZ) bears a folate-binding site, and recombinant EcYgfZ bound folates, albeit with a modest Km . In E. coli and yeast, loss of YGFZ (Iba57 in yeast notation) caused defects in a subset of iron–sulfur enzymes , and E. coli ygfZ mutants show hypersensitivity to oxidative stress, phenotypes that are mimicked in ΔfolE mutants lacking both pterins and folates, or in ΔfolP mutants that lack folates. Notably Leishmania and other species' YGFZs were able to complement E. coli ygfZ− mutants, and efforts to generate Leishmania ygfZ− mutants are underway.
The mechanism of this novel folate-dependent protein is not understood, and neither is it understood why only a subset of iron–sulfur cluster proteins are affected in E. coli or yeast mutants. Hypotheses include the transfer of reducing equivalents to an iron–sulfur cluster during assembly, or the repair of damaged clusters by the removal of C1 adducts such as formaldehyde and their subsequent transfer to H4F .
Conclusion and future studies
Folate metabolism has provided rich grounds for discovery in trypanosomatid parasites. The formation of reduced folate via DHFR or PTR1, the formation of methylene-H4F needed for thymidylate synthesis and the formation of 10-CHO-H4F for mitochondrial protein synthesis are all essential processes suitable for chemotherapeutic attack, and indeed efforts on several of these are well advanced. Key remaining questions include a better understanding of how folate metabolism is compartmentalized and dynamically organized. Evolutionary comparisons among trypanosomatids raise a number of important questions; although folate pathways are largely conserved, significant differences are evident. Unlike Leishmania, African trypanosomes seem to rely on just one pathway (GCC) for the formation of methylene-H4F, rendering them particularly susceptible to its inhibition. Why Leishmania has retained the MTHFR/MetS pathways, whereas trypanosomes survive perfectly well without them, is unknown. Proof that the requirement for 10-CHO-H4F rests on a need for this in mitochondrial protein synthesis should emerge in the near future. Lastly, it seems very likely that novel roles for folates and pterins will soon surface in trypanosomatids, as exemplified by the recent link of the folate-binding protein YgfZ with iron–sulfur cluster protein metabolism, and the as yet inexplicable differences in the requirements for PTR1 and DHFR in laboratory-adapted compared with fully virulent Leishmania.
• Leishmania are folate auxotrophs and salvage both folic acid and multiple metabolites that are usually produced in folate metabolism.
• Leishmania have two pteridine reductases, a bifunctional DHFR-TS and a novel PTR1 that can reduce both unconjugated pteridines and folate.
• Methylene-H4F is the key C1 intermediate in Leishmania and is required for both the synthesis of thymidylate and further metabolism to 10-CHO-H4F.
• SHMT and the GCC are the main paths for methylene-H4F biosynthesis in Leishmania and appear to be functionally redundant.
• 10-CHO-H4F is essential for parasite survival and, since Leishmania are purine auxotrophs, this implies that the formylation of the initiator methionyl-tRNA in the Leishmania mitochondrion is also essential, as this is the sole remaining function known for this folate.
• YGFZ provides a link between folate metabolism and iron–sulfur cluster function, although its mechanism of action is unknown.
- © The Authors Journal compilation © 2011 Biochemical Society