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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2000 Oct;110(2):345-57.

A new developmentally regulated gene family in Leishmania amastigotes encoding a homolog of amastin surface proteins.

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Centre de Recherche en Infectiologie du Centre de Recherche du CHUL et Département de Biologie Médicale, University Laval, Québec, Canada.


The ability of Leishmania to survive within the phagolysosomes of mammalian macrophages is heavily dependent on the developmental regulation of a number of genes. Characterization of genes preferentially expressed during the parasite's intracellular growth would help to elucidate the mechanisms controlling stage-specific gene regulation and the intracellular life of the parasite in general. Using a genomic approach based on the differential hybridization screening of high-density filters, we have identified a new developmentally regulated gene in Leishmania, which is part of a multigene family and encodes a highly hydrophobic protein that shares homology with the Trypanosoma cruzi amastin proteins. The fusion of the Leishmania amastin gene homolog with the green fluorescent protein and analysis by confocal microscopy suggested a surface localization for this protein. The amastin gene homolog is expressed predominantly in the amastigote form of several Leishmania species and is strictly regulated by acidic pH at the post-transcriptional level. Its developmental expression involves sequences within the 3'-untranslated region.

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