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Mol Microbiol. 1992 Nov;6(22):3365-73.

The beta-tubulin gene from rat and human isolates of Pneumocystis carinii.

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1
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19129.

Abstract

The development of new drugs for treating Pneumocystis carinii infections in AIDS patients is hampered by the lack of long-term culture systems, and by our generally limited knowledge of this organism. Recently, however, we observed significant activity of various benzimidazoles against growth of this organism in short-term cultures. Benzimidazoles inhibit microtubule polymerization; there is strong evidence that the primary target is the beta-tubulin subunit. To understand the basis for benzimidazole activity against P. carinii, and to examine the apparent relatedness of this organism to fungi, we have cloned and sequenced the single beta-tubulin gene from a rat P. carinii isolate. There was 89-91% identity at the amino acid level to beta-tubulins from filamentous fungi, but only 79-82% identity to yeast and protozoal beta-tubulins. Also, eight introns were distributed throughout the P. carinii beta-tubulin gene in a pattern characteristic of filamentous fungi. Specific residues previously implicated in benzimidazole sensitivity were conserved in P. carinii beta-tubulin. The polymerase chain reaction was used to amplify a segment of P. carinii beta-tubulin DNA from bronchoalveolar lavages obtained from two patients with AIDS. There was considerable divergence at the DNA level between the human and rat sequences, but 100% identity at the amino-acid level.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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