Identification of a second proliferating cell nuclear antigen in the human malarial pathogen Plasmodium falciparum.
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Proliferating cell nuclear antigen seems to exist as a single form in higher eukaryotic cells and plays multiple roles in nucleic acid metabolism. We have identified a second additional proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PfPCNA2) in Plasmodium falciparum on the basis of several lines of evidence. (1) PfPCNA2, consisting of 264 amino acid residues with a predicted molecular mass of 30.2kDa, shares only 29% identity and 53% similarity with PfPCNA1 at the amino acid level. (2) Southern blot analyses revealed that the hybridisation pattern of the Pfpcna2 gene is completely different from that of the Pfpcna1 gene. (3) Chromosomal localisation studies showed that Pfpcna2 is located on chromosome 12 while Pfpcna1 is located on chromosome 13. Northern blot analyses revealed two different transcripts of Pfpcna2, one expressed in both asexual and sexual erythrocytic stages, while the other existed only in the sexual stage, implying that PfPCNA2 may play multiple roles in DNA metabolism in different stages of the parasite. Recombinant protein of PfPCNA2, overexpressed in Escherichia coli, has been purified to near homogeneity and shown to form an oligomer, probably a trimer, as revealed by a size-exclusion chromatography and a native gel electrophoresis, suggesting that PfPCNA2, like its higher eukaryotic counterparts, may serve as a sliding platform which is capable of interaction with diverse proteins and regulation of their activities.
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