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Evidence for gene conversion between the phosphoglycerate kinase genes ofTrypanosoma brucei

Journal of Molecular Biology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0022-2836(88)90534-7
  • Biology


Abstract Trypanosoma brucei contains a tandem array of three genes for phosphoglycerate kinase (PGKase), genes A, B and C, each coding for a different protein. We have compared allelic variants of this gene array and find evidence for gene conversion between the three genes. Near the 3′ end, the different alleles and gene B contain a variable sequence that is similar to the corresponding sequence in either gene A or gene C. This sequence is flanked by glycine triplets that are conserved in all PGKases from bacteria to mammals. The triplets are encoded by (GGT) θ, resulting in sequences that resemble the recombination-promoting chi-sites of Escherichia coli. Upstream of the variable sequence, there is an area of 800 basepairs in which genes A, B and C are highly homologous; in all three genes this region ends with a sharp boundary at which gene B again shows segmental homology with both genes A and C. These results suggest that repeated gene conversion events partially erase the differences between genes A, B and C that arise in evolution and suggest that chi-like sequences may act as recombinational hotspots in protozoa such as T. brucei.

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