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Cell. 1983 Sep;34(2):371-81.

Gene conversion as a mechanism for antigenic variation in trypanosomes.

Abstract

Expression of the gene coding for the trypanosome AnTat 1.1 surface antigen is linked to the duplicative transposition of a basic copy (BC) of this gene to an expression site. In two trypanosome clones successively derived from AnTat 1.1 (AnTat 1.10 and AnTat 1.1B) we found evidence that gene conversions are involved in the transformation of the AnTat 1.1 transposed element into the two new surface antigen coding sequences. Although the three resultant mRNAs--AnTat 1.1, 1.10, and 1.1B--are different, they still share large homologies. Two of them, AnTat 1.1 and 1.1B, code for surface coats that are indistinguishable by conventional serological techniques, whereas AnTat 1.10 has been found different by the same methods. The three genomic rearrangements involve two of the five members of the AnTat 1.1 gene family. These two members are both located in unstable telomeric regions similar to the expression site, each in a different orientation with respect to the DNA terminus. We have concluded that the duplicative transposition is achieved by a gene conversion that may affect variable lengths of the same silent genes, and that different members of the same surface antigen gene family can contribute to the diversification of the antigen repertoire.

PMID:
6616615
DOI:
10.1016/0092-8674(83)90371-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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