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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cloning of a cysteine proteinase gene from Acanthamoeba culbertsoni.

Free living amoeba, including pathogenic Acanthamoeba culbertsoni, are widely distributed in soil and fresh water. It has been found that cysteine proteinases are more active in pathogenic strains of amoeba whereas serine proteinases are found in both pathogenic and nonpathogenic strains. Cysteine proteinases thus play important roles in the pathogenesis of several parasitic infections and have been proposed as targets for the structure-based strategy of drug design. As the first step toward applying this strategy to design inhibitors as antiparasitic agents for A. culbertsoni, we isolated and sequenced the full length clone of a cysteine proteinase gene from A. culbertsoni by performing reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) with degenerate oligonucleotide primers derived from conserved cysteine proteinase sequences. The 5' and the 3' regions of the cysteine proteinase gene were amplified using the PCR protocol for the rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE). It has an open reading frame of 1359 bp. The deduced amino acid sequence has the sequence homology with the cysteine proteinase genes of Paragonimus westermani metacercaria, Schistosoma mansoni, human cathepsin L and Fasciola hepatica, each by 45.3%, 45.9%, 57.9% and 50.8% respectively. Sequence analysis and alignment showed significant similarity to other eukaryotic cysteine proteinases, including the conservation of the cysteine, histidine, and asparagine residues that form the catalytic triad. A 1.5 kbp mRNA was detected on Northern blot analysis using full-length cysteine proteinase cDNA as a probe. The A. culbertsoni cysteine proteinase gene (AcCP2) was found to contain Ex3Rx3Wx2N at the proregion and also a proline/threonine-rich C-terminal extension. Therefore, it has cathepsin L-like characteristics. Phylogenetic analysis based on the amino acid sequences of cysteine proteinase indicated that AcCP2 was closely related with papaya, while it was remotely related with those of Schistosoma.[1]


  1. Cloning of a cysteine proteinase gene from Acanthamoeba culbertsoni. Yun, H.C., Kim, K.Y., Park, S.Y., Park, S.K., Park, H., Hwang, U.W., Hong, K.M., Ryu, J.S., Min, D.Y. Mol. Cells (1999) [Pubmed]
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