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Mol Cell Biol. Feb 1993; 13(2): 1146–1154.
PMCID: PMC358999

Differential regulation of two distinct families of glucose transporter genes in Trypanosoma brucei.


A tandemly arranged multigene family encoding putative hexose transporters in Trypanosoma brucei has been characterized. It is composed of two 80% homologous groups of genes called THT1 (six copies) and THT2 (five copies). When Xenopus oocytes are microinjected with in vitro-transcribed RNA from a THT1 gene, they express a glucose transporter with properties similar to those of the trypanosome bloodstream-form protein(s). This THT1-encoded transport system for glucose differs from the human erythrocyte-type glucose transporter by its moderate sensitivity to cytochalasin B and its capacity to transport D-fructose. These properties suggest that the trypanosomal transporter may be a good target for antitrypanosomal drugs. mRNA analysis revealed that expression of these genes was life cycle stage dependent. Bloodstream forms express 40-fold more THT1 than THT2. In contrast, procyclic trypanosomes express no detectable THT1 but demonstrate glucose-dependent expression of THT2.

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