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Biological variation among african trypanosomes: I. Clonal expression of virulence is not linked to the variant surface glycoprotein or the variant surface glycoprotein gene telomeric expression site



Biological variation among african trypanosomes: I. Clonal expression of virulence is not linked to the variant surface glycoprotein or the variant surface glycoprotein gene telomeric expression site



Dna and Cell Biology 29(5): 215-227



The potential association of variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) gene expression with clonal expression of virulence in African trypanosomes was addressed. Two populations of clonally related trypanosomes, which differ dramatically in virulence for the infected host, but display the same apparent VSG surface coat phenotype, were characterized with respect to the VSG genes expressed as well as the chromosome telomeric expression sites (ES) utilized for VSG gene transcription. The VSG gene sequences expressed by clones LouTat 1 and LouTat 1A of Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense were identical, and gene expression in both clones occurred precisely by the same gene conversion events (duplication and transposition), which generated an expression-linked copy (ELC) of the VSG gene. The ELC was present on the same genomic restriction fragments in both populations and resided in the telomere of a 330-kb chromosome; a single basic copy of the LouTat 1/1A VSG gene, present in all variants of the LouTat 1 serodeme, was located at an internal site of a 1.5-Mb chromosome. Restriction endonuclease mapping of the ES telomere revealed that the VSG ELC of clones LouTat 1 and 1A resides in the same site. Therefore, these findings provide evidence that the VSG gene ES and, potentially, any cotranscribed ES-associated genes do not play a role in the clonal regulation of virulence because trypanosome clones LouTat 1 and 1A, which differ markedly in their virulence properties, both express identical VSG genes from the same chromosome telomeric ES.

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Accession: 051811667

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PMID: 20307190

DOI: 10.1089/dna.2009.0991


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