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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1999 Feb 16;255(2):312-6.

RNA helicase-related genes of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium cynomolgi.

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  • 1International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi, India.


RNA helicases play many essential roles including cell development and growth. Using degenerate oligonucleotide primers designed to amplify DNA fragments flanked by the highly conserved helicase motifs VLDEAD and YIHRIG and genomic DNAs from the malarial parasites as a template, we have cloned two putative RNA helicase genes (546 and 540 bp) from P. falciparum and one gene (546 bp) from P. cynomologi. Southern blot analysis revealed that these could be multiple and single-copy genes in P. falciparum and P. cynomolgi, respectively. Several members of the RNA helicase gene family share sequence identity with malarial parasite's helicases ranging from 30 to 76%, suggesting that they are functionally related. The discovery of such a multitude of putative RNA helicase genes in malarial parasites suggested that RNA helicase activities may be involved in many essential biological processes. Further characterization of these helicases may also help in designing parasite-specific inhibitors/drugs which specifically inhibit the parasite's growth without affecting the host.

Copyright 1999 Academic Press.

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