Conserved sequences flank variable tandem repeats in two α-antigen genes of Plasmodium falciparum

Alan F. Cowman, Robert B. Saint, Ross L. Coppel, Graham V. Brown, Robin R. Andere, David J. Kemp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)


We describe the isolation of two chromosomal DNA fragments from Plasmodium falciparum. These fragments encode the antigenically distinct S antigens of two different P. falciparum isolates, namely FC27 from Papua New Guinea and NF7 from Ghana. The complete nucleotide sequences of both fragments are presented. The fragments are homologous over most of their lengths, including the entire regions flanking the protein coding sequences. Whereas the N- and C-terminal portions of sequences encoding the S antigens are homologous, major portions of the coding sequences are not. The nonhomologous regions are comprised of tandemly repeated sequences, of 33 by in FC27 and predominantly of 24 by in NF7. The 33 by tandem repeats encoded by the FC27 S-antigen gene could not be detected in the NF7 genome. Conversely, the 24 by tandem repeats encoded by the NF7 S-antigen gene could not be detected in the FC27 genome. The pattern of sequence variation within the repeats of both genes suggests a mechanism for the generation of S-antigen diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-783
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1985
Externally publishedYes

Cite this