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Pitt-Stanford research suggests aimless proteins crucial to disease
Date:3/31/2011

eins should obviously be considered."

The ROP5, or rhoptry protein 5, gene clusterso named for the specialized organelle rhoptry, which secretes thembelongs to a larger family of approximately 40 pseudokinases present in T. gondii. Once T. gondii injects ROP5 into the host cell, the parasite enters the cell and forms a protective membrane pocket, or vacuole, around itself to which ROP5 and other proteins attach. While the other secreted kinases are known to help disable or disrupt activity in the host cell, the ROP5 cluster, a kind of infectious ringleader, appeared to have a more dominant role in causing severe disease in mice than other virulence factors, Boyle said.

The team plans to further investigate the significance of ROP5 to T. gondii's survival within the host, Boyle said. In the PNAS paper, the researchers suggest that ROP5 has undergone multiple rounds of gene duplication followed by mutation of the individual copies. Thus, the authors propose, the ROP5 cluster may act like a genetic Swiss Army Knife, a multipurpose tool that allows T. gondii to adapt to and infect its famously wide variety of hosts.


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Contact: Morgan Kelly
mekelly@pitt.edu
412-897-1400
University of Pittsburgh
Source:Eurekalert

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