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The nuclear genome of apicomplexan parasites

Part 2. Genomics

2.5. Bacteria and Other Pathogens

Specialist Review

  1. James W. Ajioka1,
  2. Elizabeth T. Brooke-Powell1,
  3. Kiew-Lian Wan2

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047001153X.g205219

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

How to Cite

Ajioka, J. W., Brooke-Powell, E. T. and Wan, K.-L. 2005. The nuclear genome of apicomplexan parasites. Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics. 2:2.5:54.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

  2. 2

    Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor DE, Malaysia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

Abstract

The Apicomplexa is a highly diverse phylum of parasitic protists that includes the causative agents of malaria and other important human and animal diseases. These unicellular pathogens have been shaped by a key evolutionary event: the secondary endosymbiosis of a single eukaryotic cell and photosynthetic algae. From this event and subsequent evolution, most species in the phylum retain a single mitochondrion and a plastid-like organelle known as the apicoplast (see The organelles of Apicomplexan parasites). The reduced function of these organelles is mirrored by their highly compact genomes, where genes have been lost or transferred to the nucleus, making the nuclear genome a mosaic of former organellar genes embedded in chromosomal DNA from both endosymbionts. Natural selection on this basic cellular and genetic plan has led to a diversity of parasitic life cycles, each with adaptations that specify host range and mechanisms of transmission. Comparative genomics is beginning to reveal the similarities and differences between member species, enhancing our capability to treat and control the devastating diseases they cause.

Keywords:

  • apicomplexa;
  • plasmodium;
  • toxoplasma;
  • eimeria;
  • theileria;
  • cryptosporidia;
  • genome;
  • DNA sequence;
  • EST;
  • bioinformatics;
  • databases;
  • microarray;
  • life cycle