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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Apr 1;90(7):2608-12.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis expresses two chaperonin-60 homologs.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, St. George's Hospital Medical School, London, United Kingdom.


A 65-kDa protein and a 10-kDa protein are two of the more strongly immunoreactive components of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis. The 65-kDa antigen has homology with members of the GroEL or chaperonin-60 (Cpn60) family of heat shock proteins. The 10-kDa antigen has homology with the GroES or chaperonin-10 family of heat shock proteins. These two proteins are encoded by separate genes in M. tuberculosis. The studies reported here reveal that M. tuberculosis contains a second Cpn60 homolog located 98 bp downstream of the 10-kDa antigen gene. The second Cpn60 homolog (Cpn60-1) displays 61% amino acid sequence identity with the 65-kDa antigen (Cpn60-2) and 53% and 41% identity with the Escherichia coli GroEL protein and the human P60 protein, respectively. Primer-extension analysis revealed that transcription starts 29 bp upstream of the translation start of the Cpn60-1 homolog and protein purification studies indicate that the cpn60-1 gene is expressed as an approximately 60-kDa polypeptide.

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