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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1998 Nov 30;97(1-2):161-76.

stevor and rif are Plasmodium falciparum multicopy gene families which potentially encode variant antigens.

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The Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Australia.


Several multicopy gene families have been described in Plasmodium falciparum, including the var genes that code for the variant surface antigen PfEMP1, the stevor family of subtelomeric open reading frames and the rif interspersed repetitive elements. This report documents the chromosomal location of stevor genes, their transcription and characteristics of the deduced protein. On 14 chromosomes, 34 stevor copies were identified from the Dd2 parasite line. Most are in subtelomeric regions within 50 kb of the telomere. stevor genes are located close to var genes and rij. All stevor genes sequenced had two exons: a short exon 1 encoding a start codon and a transmembrane domain; exon 2 encoding for the remainder of the approximately 30 kDa protein and including two more transmembrane segments. A similar structure was found for copies of rif and its predicted protein. In both STEVOR and RIF proteins, a highly polymorphic region is predicted to be a loop on the outer side of the membrane. We propose that stevor and rif are members of a larger superfamily. The number of copies of stevor and rif, their location close to the var genes, their extreme polymorphism and the predicted structure of the proteins suggest that stevor and rif code for variant surface antigens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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