-Proteobacterial Relationship of Apicomplexan Lactate and Malate Dehydrogenases Academic Article uri icon


  • We have cloned and sequenced a lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) gene from Cryptosporidium parvum (CpLDH1). With this addition, and that of four recently deposited alpha-proteobacterial malate dehydrogenase (MDH) genes, the phylogenetic relationships among apicomplexan LDH and bacterial MDH were re-examined. Consistent with previous studies, our maximum likelihood (ML) analysis using the quartet-puzzling method divided 105 LDH/MDH enzymes into five clades, and confirmed that mitochondrial MDH is a sister clade to those of y-proteobacteria, rather than to alpha-proteobacteria. In addition, a Cryptosporidium parvum MDH (CpMDH1) was identified from the ongoing Cryptosporidium genome project that appears to belong to a distinct clade (III) comprised of 22 sequences from one archaebacterium, numerous eubacteria, and several apicomplexans. Using the ML puzzling test and bootstrapping analysis with protein distance and parsimony methods, the resulting trees not only robustly confirmed the alpha-proteobacterial relationship of apicomplexan LDH/MDH, but also supported a monophyletic relationship of CpLDH1 with CpMDHI. These data suggest that, unlike most other eukaryotes, the Apicomplexa may be one of the few lineages retaining an alpha-proteobacterial-type MDH that could have been acquired from an ancestral alpha-proteobacterium through primary endosymbiosis giving rise to the mitochondria, or through an unknown lateral gene transfer (LGT) event.

author list (cited authors)

  • ZHU, G., & KEITHLY, J. S.

citation count

  • 23

publication date

  • May 2002