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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Dec 15, 1993; 90(24): 12020–12024.

Cloning and characterization of subunit genes of ribonucleotide reductase, a cell-cycle-regulated enzyme, from Plasmodium falciparum.


Ribonucleotide reductase (EC; RNR), a cell-cycle-regulated enzyme, catalyzes the rate-limiting step in the de novo synthesis of deoxyribonucleotides by the reduction of the corresponding ribonucleotides. The important role of the RNR in DNA synthesis and cell division makes this enzyme an excellent target for chemotherapy. However, nothing is known about this enzyme from the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. We have isolated cDNA clones encoding both the large and small RNR subunits. The sequences of full-length clones of the large and small RNR subunits revealed an open reading frame encoding 806 and 349 amino acids, respectively, and showed significant identity with other RNR sequences in the data base. RNA blot analysis showed that the size of the large and small RNR subunit transcripts are 5.4 kb and 2.2 kb, respectively. Both the RNR subunit transcripts fluctuate in level during the cell cycle, reaching a peak preceding maximal DNA synthesis activity. An oligodeoxynucleotide phosphorothioate that is complementary to sequences around the translational initiation codon of the small RNR subunit showed significant inhibition of growth, as measured by the inhibition in DNA synthesis.

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