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

A structural motif in the variant surface glycoproteins of Trypanosoma brucei.

The variable domain of the trypanosome variant surface glycoprotein ( VSG) ILTat 1.24 has been shown by X-ray crystallography to resemble closely the structures of VSG MITat 1.2, despite their low sequence similarity. Specific structural features of these VSGs, including substitution of carbohydrate for an alpha-helix, can be found in other VSG sequences. Thus antigenic variation in trypanosomes is accomplished by sequence variation, not gross structural alteration; the extensive sequence differences among VSGs may be required for another reason, such as the avoidance of recognition by helper T cells. Additionally, VSG sequences are found to define families, within a VSG superfamily, which have evolved in the trypanosome genome.[1]


  1. A structural motif in the variant surface glycoproteins of Trypanosoma brucei. Blum, M.L., Down, J.A., Gurnett, A.M., Carrington, M., Turner, M.J., Wiley, D.C. Nature (1993) [Pubmed]
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