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EMBO Rep. 2005 Aug;6(8):769-74.

Michelob_x is the missing inhibitor of apoptosis protein antagonist in mosquito genomes.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32610, USA.


Apoptosis is implicated in the life cycle of the malaria parasite in mosquitoes. The genome project for the primary malaria vector Anopheles gambiae showed a significant expansion of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) and caspase gene families in comparison with Drosophila. However, because of extensive sequence divergence, no orthologue was identified for the reaper/grim-like IAP antagonist genes that have a pivotal role in cell death regulation in Drosophila. Using a customized searching strategy, we identified michelob_x(mx), a gene not predicted by the genome project, as the missing IAP antagonist in the An. gambiae and other mosquito genomes. Mx has a highly conserved amino-terminal IAP-binding motif. Expression of Mx induces rapid cell death in insect cell lines and is a potent tissue ablator in vivo. Its proapoptotic activity is totally dependent on the IAP-binding motif. Like reaper in Drosophila, mx is transcriptionally induced by ultraviolet irradiation to mediate cell death.

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