Phosphoglycerate kinase: Structural aspects and functions, with special emphasis on the enzyme from Kinetoplastea: Phosphoglycerate Kinase

Maura Rojas-Pirela, Diego Andrade-Alviárez, Verónica Rojas, Ulrike Kemmerling, Ana J. Cáceres, Paul A. Michels, Juan Luis Concepción, Wilfredo Quiñones

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK) is a glycolytic enzyme that is well conserved among the three domains of life. PGK is usually a monomeric enzyme of about 45 kDa that catalyses one of the two ATP-producing reactions in the glycolytic pathway, through the conversion of 1,3-bisphosphoglycerate (1,3BPGA) to 3-phosphoglycerate (3PGA). It also participates in gluconeogenesis, catalysing the opposite reaction to produce 1,3BPGA and ADP. Like most other glycolytic enzymes, PGK has also been catalogued as a moonlighting protein, due to its involvement in different functions not associated with energy metabolism, which include pathogenesis, interaction with nucleic acids, tumorigenesis progression, cell death and viral replication. In this review, we have highlighted the overall aspects of this enzyme, such as its structure, reaction kinetics, activity regulation and possible moonlighting functions in different protistan organisms, especially both free-living and parasitic Kinetoplastea. Our analysis of the genomes of different kinetoplastids revealed the presence of open-reading frames (ORFs) for multiple PGK isoforms in several species. Some of these ORFs code for unusually large PGKs. The products appear to contain additional structural domains fused to the PGK domain. A striking aspect is that some of these PGK isoforms are predicted to be catalytically inactive enzymes or 'dead' enzymes. The roles of PGKs in kinetoplastid parasites are analysed, and the apparent significance of the PGK gene duplication that gave rise to the different isoforms and their expression in Trypanosoma cruzi is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number200302
JournalOpen Biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Trypanosoma
  • domains
  • metabolism
  • moonlighting protein
  • phosphoglycerate kinase
  • protists


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