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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2000 Sep;110(1):23-32.

Generation of a mosaic pattern of diversity in the major merozoite-piroplasm surface antigen of Theileria annulata.

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Department of Parasitology and Tropical Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, PO Box 80.165, 3508 TD, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The polypeptide Tams1 is an immunodominant major merozoite piroplasm surface antigen of the protozoan parasite Theileria annulata. Generation and selection of divergent antigenic types has implications for the inclusion of the Tams1 antigen in a subunit recombinant vaccine or use in the development of a diagnostic ELISA. In this study a total of 129 Tams1 sequences from parasites isolated in Bahrain, India, Italy, Mauritania, Portugal, Spain, Sudan, Tunisia and Turkey were obtained to estimate the extent of Tams1 diversity throughout a wide geographical range. Significant sequence diversity was found both within and between isolates and many of the sequences were unique. No geographical specificity of sequence types was observed and almost identical sequences occurred in different geographical areas and a panmictic population structure is suggested by our results. A sliding window analysis identified sub-regions of the molecule where selection for amino acid changes may operate. Evidence is also presented for the generation of diversity through intragenic recombination with switching of corresponding variable domains between alleles. Recombination to exchange variable domains appears to occur throughout the length of the gene sequence, and has the potential to generate a mosaic pattern of diversity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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