PFPI-like genes are expressed in Leishmania major but are pseudogenes in other Leishmania species

Eschenlauer, S. C.P., Coombs, G. H. and Mottram, J. C. (2006) PFPI-like genes are expressed in Leishmania major but are pseudogenes in other Leishmania species. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 260(1), pp. 47-54. (doi:10.1111/j.1574-6968.2006.00303.x)

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Pyrococcus furiosus protease I (PFPI) is a multimeric cysteine peptidase from P. furiosus. Genome analyses indicate that orthologues are present in rather few other organisms, including Dictyostelium discoideum and several bacteria, Archaea and plants. An open reading frame (ORF) coding for a PFPI-like protein (PFP1) was identified in Leishmania major and Leishmania mexican and full-length spliced and polyadenylated PFP1 mRNA detected for both species. Vestiges of a PFPI-like gene could also be identified in Leishmania braziliensis and Leishmania infantum, but no ORF remains owing to the presence of frame-shifts and stop codons. No evidence for a PFPI-like gene could be found in the syntenic region of Trypanosoma brucei or Trypanosoma cruzi, raising the possibility that the PFPI-like genes were acquired by a lateral gene transfer event after the divergence of trypanosomes and Leishmania. The gene may have subsequently degenerated into a pseudogene in some Leishmania species, owing to the loss of relevant biological function. However, antibodies raised against L. mexicana recombinant protein detected PFP1 in promastigote extracts of L. major, but not in L. Mexicana promastigote or amastigote extracts. The expression of PFP1 in L. major suggests that PFP1 might contribute to the disease tropism that distinguishes this Leishmania species from others.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Eschenlauer, Dr Sylvain and Mottram, Professor Jeremy and Coombs, Professor Graham
Authors: Eschenlauer, S. C.P., Coombs, G. H., and Mottram, J. C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:FEMS Microbiology Letters
ISSN (Online):1574-6968
Published Online:26 May 2006

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
297261Post-genomic analysis of cysteine protease function in Leishmania parasitesJeremy MottramMedical Research Council (MRC)G0000508Infection Immunity and Inflammation Life Sciences