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Infect Immun. 1998 Apr;66(4):1632-7.

Expressed sequence tag analysis of the bradyzoite stage of Toxoplasma gondii: identification of developmentally regulated genes.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University, California 94305-5124, USA.


Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite responsible for widespread infections in humans and animals. Two major asexual forms are produced during the life cycle of this parasite: the rapidly dividing tachyzoite and the more slowly dividing, encysted bradyzoite. To further study the differentiation between these two forms, we have generated a large number of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from both asexual stages. Previously, we obtained data on approximately 7,400 ESTs from tachyzoites (J. Ajioka et al., Genome Res. 8:18-28, 1998). Here, we report the results from analysis of approximately 2,500 ESTs from bradyzoites purified from the cysts of infected mice. We also report the results from analysis of 760 ESTs from parasites induced to differentiate from tachyzoites to bradyzoites in vitro. Comparison of the data sets from bradyzoites and tachyzoites reveals many previously uncharacterized sequence clusters which are largely or completely specific to one or other developmental stage. This class includes a bradyzoite-specific form of enolase. Combined with the previously identified bradyzoite-specific form of lactate dehydrogenase, this finding suggests significant differences in flux through the lower end of the glycolytic pathway in this stage. Thus, the generation of this data set provides valuable insights into the metabolism and growth of the parasite in the encysted form and represents a substantial body of information for further study of development in Toxoplasma.

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