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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jul 19, 1994; 91(15): 7149–7153.
PMCID: PMC44356

Primary structure and expression of the dihydropteroate synthetase gene of Plasmodium falciparum.

Abstract

The enzyme dihydropteroate synthetase (DHPS) from Plasmodium falciparum is involved in the mechanism of action of the sulfone/sulfonamide group of drugs. We describe the cloning and sequencing of the gene encoding the P. falciparum DHPS enzyme and show that it is a bifunctional enzyme that includes dihydro-6-hydroxymethylpterin pyrophosphokinase (PPPK) at the N terminus of DHPS. The gene encodes a putative protein of 83 kDa that contains two domains that are homologous with the DHPS and PPPK enzymes of other organisms. The PPPK-DHPS gene is encoded on chromosome 8 and has two introns. An antibody raised to the PPPK region of the protein was found to recognize a 68-kDa protein that is expressed throughout the asexual life cycle of the parasite. We have determined the sequence of the DHPS portion of the gene from sulfadoxine-sensitive and -resistant P. falciparum clones and identified sequence differences that may have a role in sulfone/sulfonamide resistance.

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