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Acta Trop. 2011 Jul;119(1):19-22. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2011.03.006. Epub 2011 Apr 12.

Confutation of the existence of sequence-conserved cytochrome P450 enzymes in Plasmodium falciparum.

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Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences, Thammasat University, Rangsit Campus, 99 Moo 18, Pathumthani 12121, Thailand.


The aim of the present study was to find evidence for a homologous protein of the mammalian cytochrome P450 family member CYP2B1/B2 in Plasmodium falciparum at the nucleic acid level. Prior research had demonstrated enzyme activity in the parasite comparable to mammalian CYP1A, 2A, 2B and 2E enzymes and presence of CYP enzymes by spectrophotometric and electrophoretic analyses. In recent years, the transcriptome/proteome data of P. falciparum and other Plasmodium spp. have been published and we performed an in silico analysis to identify putative cytochrome P450 family members in the parasite. This analysis failed to identify homologs to CYP1A, 2A, 2B and 2E enzymes in Plasmodium. A prior study had also claimed the presence of a conserved CYP2B1/B2 gene in the parasite by using Northern analysis with a rat CYP2B1/B2 probe. We have repeated this analysis by cloning a rat CYP2B1/B2 cDNA and using it as a hybridization probe against total RNA extracted from P. falciparum K1 and 3D7 clones but did not obtain positive results. This is consistent with the transcriptome/proteome sequence data and suggests that the genus Plasmodium contains either only highly diverged CYP proteins which are not easily identified by their primary sequence or that they have been functionally replaced by other enzymes. It is suggested that further studies are performed that allow isolation and identification of such proteins through their functional activities.

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