Theileria Genomes Work with Less

Science  01 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5731, pp. 15
DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5731.15i
CREDIT: PAIN ET AL.

Apicomplexans are a diverse group of parasitic protozoa that cause diseases in humans and animals. Theileria parva is a tick-borne apicomplexan responsible for the death of 1 million cattle a year in Africa (see the Perspective by Roos). Gardner et al. (p. 134) present the sequence of T. parva, and Pain et al. (p. 131) present a comparison with the newly generated sequence of T. annulata. In several ways, these organisms represent stripped-down versions of more complex apicomplexans in that they have 20% fewer genes than malaria parasites; they resemble yeasts more than higher eukaryotes in the complexity of their cell cycle regulation. Theileria species induce transformation of lymphocytes but lack homologs of cellular protooncogenes. Other candidates that may explain the mechanism for transformation may provide drug or vaccine candidates.

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