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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1992 Feb;50(2):225-34.

The major cysteine proteinase (cruzipain) from Trypanosoma cruzi is encoded by multiple polymorphic tandemly organized genes located on different chromosomes.

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Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquímicas Fundación Campomar, CONICET, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.


We demonstrate that cruzipain, the major cysteine proteinase of Trypanosoma cruzi epimastigotes, is encoded by a large number of tandemly arranged genes. Restriction enzyme analysis of 20 clones containing complete repeat units of the gene, as well as sequencing of 2 of these clones, and comparison with previously published partial sequences, indicated that the sequence is conserved among the repeat units, although polymorphisms clearly exist. The repeat units contain an intergenic region of 528 bp and coding regions for pre- and pro-enzyme, a central domain and a C-terminal extension. The predicted amino acid sequences of these regions indicated a sequence identity of 30, 60, 70 and 36%, respectively, when the T. cruzi sequence was compared with the sequence of a similar cysteine proteinase from Trypanosoma brucei. Studies by pulsed field gel electrophoresis, complemented with restriction analysis, indicated that the clusters are located on 2-4 different chromosomes in several parasite isolates.

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