Highly syntenic and yet divergent: a tale of two Theilerias
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Weir, W.; Sunter, J.; Chaussepied, M.; Skilton, R.; Tait, A.; Villiers, E.P. de; Bishop, R.; Shiels, B.; Langsley, G. [Etienne P. de Villiers]. 2009. Highly syntenic and yet divergent: a tale of two theilerias. Infection, Genetics and Evolution.v. 9(4). p. 453-461.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/52
The published genomic sequences of the two major host-transforming Theileria species of cattle represent a rich resource of information that has allowed novel bioinformatic and experimental studies into these important apicomplexan parasites. Since their publication in 2005, the genomes of T. annulata and T. parva have been utilised for a diverse range of applications, ranging from candidate antigen discovery to the identification of genetic markers for population analysis. This has led to advancements in the quest for a sub-unit vaccine, while providing a greater understanding of variation among parasite populations in the field. The unique ability of these Theileria species to induce host cell transformation is the subject of considerable scientific interest and the availability of full genomic sequences has provided new insights into this area of research. This article reviews the data underlying published comparative analyses, focussing on the general features of gene expression, the major Tpr/Tar multi-copy gene family and a re-examination of the predicted macroschizont secretome. Codon usage between the Theileria species is reviewed in detail, as this underpins ongoing comparative studies investigating selection at the intra- and inter-species level. The TashAT/TpshAT family of genes, conserved between T. annulata and T. parva, encodes products targeted to the host nucleus and has been implicated in contributing to the transformed bovine phenotype. Species-specific expansion and diversification at this critical locus is discussed with reference to the availability, in the near future, of genomic datasets which are based on non-transforming Theileria species.