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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1997 Jan;84(1):1-12.

Cloning and expression of the thrombospondin related adhesive protein gene of Plasmodium berghei.

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MRC Molecular Haematology Unit, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford, United Kingdom.


Sporozoite recognition of host cells is a key step in the life-cycle of malaria parasites. Two sporozoite proteins have so far been characterized in some detail, the circumsporozoite protein (CS) and thrombospondin related adhesive protein (TRAP). We report here the cloning and expression of the TRAP gene homologue from Plasmodium berghei, PbTRAP. The PbTRAP gene encodes a protein of 606 amino acids having a deduced molecular mass of 66 kDa. The overall structure is clearly that of the TRAP family having a signal sequence followed by an integrin A domain, a sulphatide binding motif, followed by a proline based repeat before a transmembrane domain and helical cytoplasmic tail. The observed molecular mass is almost 50% larger than expected, this can be explained almost entirely by the abnormal behaviour in SDS-PAGE of the proline based repeat. As would be expected PbTRAP shows greatest similarity with the P. yoelli TRAP homologue sporozoite surface protein 2 (SSP2) than with PfTRAP, the TRAP gene from P. falciparum. The pattern of expression is similar to that of SSP2.

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