Editor: Kai Man Kam
The sequence of the acidic repeat protein (arp) gene differentiates venereal from nonvenereal Treponema pallidum subspecies, and the gene has evolved under strong positive selection in the subspecies that causes syphilis
Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
© 2008 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved
FEMS Immunology & Medical Microbiology
Volume 53, Issue 3, pages 322–332, August 2008
How to Cite
Harper, K. N., Liu, H., Ocampo, P. S., Steiner, B. M., Martin, A., Levert, K., Wang, D., Sutton, M. and Armelagos, G. J. (2008), The sequence of the acidic repeat protein (arp) gene differentiates venereal from nonvenereal Treponema pallidum subspecies, and the gene has evolved under strong positive selection in the subspecies that causes syphilis. FEMS Immunology & Medical Microbiology, 53: 322–332. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-695X.2008.00427.x
- Issue published online: 29 JUL 2008
- Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
- Received 6 January 2008; revised 11 March 2008; accepted 1 April 2008.First published online 12 June 2008.
- Treponema pallidum;
- repeat region;
Despite the completion of the Treponema pallidum genome project, only minor genetic differences have been found between the subspecies that cause venereal syphilis (ssp. pallidum) and the nonvenereal diseases yaws (ssp. pertenue) and bejel (ssp. endemicum). In this paper, we describe sequence variation in the arp gene which allows straightforward differentiation of ssp. pallidum from the nonvenereal subspecies. We also present evidence that this region is subject to positive selection in ssp. pallidum, consistent with pressure from the immune system. Finally, the presence of multiple, but distinct, repeat motifs in both ssp. pallidum and Treponema paraluiscuniculi (the pathogen responsible for rabbit syphilis) suggests that a diverse repertoire of repeat motifs is associated with sexual transmission. This study suggests that variations in the number and sequence of repeat motifs in the arp gene have clinical, epidemiological, and evolutionary significance.