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Folia Parasitol (Praha). 2005 May;52(1-2):15-22.

Post-genomics of microsporidia, with emphasis on a model of minimal eukaryotic proteome: a review.

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  • 1Equipe de Parasitologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Laboratoire de Biologie des Protistes, UMR CNRS 6023, Université Blaise Pascal (Clermont 2), Complexe Universitaire des Cézeaux, 63177-Aubière , France.


The genome sequence of the microsporidian parasite Encephalitozoon cuniculi Levaditi, Nicolau et Schoen, 1923 contains about 2,000 genes that are representative of a non-redundant potential proteome composed of 1,909 protein chains. The purpose of this review is to relate some advances in the characterisation of this proteome through bioinformatics and experimental approaches. The reduced diversity of the set of E. cuniculi proteins is perceptible in all the compilations of predicted domains, orthologs, families and superfamilies, available in several public databases. The phyletic patterns of orthologs for seven eukaryotic organisms support an extensive gene loss in the fungal clade, with additional deletions in E. cuniculi. Most microsporidial orthologs are the smallest ones among eukaryotes, justifying an interest in the use of these compacted proteins to better discriminate between essential and non-essential regions. The three components of the E. cuniculi mRNA capping apparatus have been especially well characterized and the three-dimensional structure of the cap methyltransferase has been elucidated following the crystallisation of the microsporidial enzyme Ecm1. So far, our mass spectrometry-based analyses of the E. cuniculi spore proteome has led to the identification of about 170 proteins, one-quarter of these having no clearly predicted function. Immunocytochemical studies are in progress to determine the subcellular localisation of microsporidia-specific proteins. Post-translational modifications such as phosphorylation and glycosylation are expected to be soon explored.

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