National Center for
2VSG: A Structural Motif In The Variant Surface Glycoproteins Of Trypanosoma Brucei
Nature (1993) 362 p.603-609» All references (3)
The variable domain of the trypanosome variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) ILTat 1.24 has been shown by X-ray crystallography to resemble closely the structures of VSG MITat 1.2, despite their low sequence similarity. Specific structural features of these VSGs, including substitution of carbohydrate for an alpha-helix, can be found in other VSG sequences. Thus antigenic variation in trypanosomes is accomplished by sequence variation, not gross structural alteration; the extensive sequence differences among VSGs may be required for another reason, such as the avoidance of recognition by helper T cells. Additionally, VSG sequences are found to define families, within a VSG superfamily, which have evolved in the trypanosome genome.