Research Article

Intraflagellar transport complex in Leishmania spp. In silico genome-wide screening and annotation of gene function

Published: October 04, 2007
Genet. Mol. Res. 6 (4) : 766-798
Cite this Article:
(2007). Intraflagellar transport complex in Leishmania spp. In silico genome-wide screening and annotation of gene function. Genet. Mol. Res. 6(4): xm04.
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Abstract

Flagella are constructed and maintained through the highly conserved process of intraflagellar transport (IFT), which is a rapid movement of particles along the axonemal microtubules of cilia/flagella. Particles that are transported by IFT are composed of several protein subunits comprising two complexes (A and B), which are conserved among green algae, nematodes, and vertebrates. To determine whether or not homologues to members of the IFT complex proteins are conserved in Leishmania spp, we scanned genomes, transcriptomes and proteomes of Leishmania species in a search for putative IFT factors, which were then identified in silico, compared, cataloged, and characterized. Since a large proportion of newly identified genes in L. major remain unclassified, with many of these being potentially Leishmania- (or kinetoplastid-) specific, there is a need for detailed analyses of homologs/orthologs that could help us understand the functional assignment of these gene products. We used a combination of integrated bioinformatics tools in a pathogenomics approach to contribute to the annotation of Leishmania genomes, particularly regarding flagellar genes and their roles in pathogenesis. This resulted in the formal in silico identification of eight of these homologs in Leishmania (IFT subunits, 20, 27, 46, 52, 57, 88, 140, and 172), along with others (IFTs 71, 74/72, and 81), as well as sequence comparisons and structural predictions. IFT, an important flagellar pathway in Leishmania, begins to be revealed through screening of trypanosomatid genomes; this information could also be used to better understand fundamental processes in Leishmania, such as motility and pathogenesis.

Flagella are constructed and maintained through the highly conserved process of intraflagellar transport (IFT), which is a rapid movement of particles along the axonemal microtubules of cilia/flagella. Particles that are transported by IFT are composed of several protein subunits comprising two complexes (A and B), which are conserved among green algae, nematodes, and vertebrates. To determine whether or not homologues to members of the IFT complex proteins are conserved in Leishmania spp, we scanned genomes, transcriptomes and proteomes of Leishmania species in a search for putative IFT factors, which were then identified in silico, compared, cataloged, and characterized. Since a large proportion of newly identified genes in L. major remain unclassified, with many of these being potentially Leishmania- (or kinetoplastid-) specific, there is a need for detailed analyses of homologs/orthologs that could help us understand the functional assignment of these gene products. We used a combination of integrated bioinformatics tools in a pathogenomics approach to contribute to the annotation of Leishmania genomes, particularly regarding flagellar genes and their roles in pathogenesis. This resulted in the formal in silico identification of eight of these homologs in Leishmania (IFT subunits, 20, 27, 46, 52, 57, 88, 140, and 172), along with others (IFTs 71, 74/72, and 81), as well as sequence comparisons and structural predictions. IFT, an important flagellar pathway in Leishmania, begins to be revealed through screening of trypanosomatid genomes; this information could also be used to better understand fundamental processes in Leishmania, such as motility and pathogenesis.

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