Molecular characterisation of a novel, repetitive protein of the paraflagellar rod in Trypanosoma brucei.
Woodward R., Carden MJ., Gull K.
A partial cDNA clone, termed 5.20, was isolated from a lambda-gt11 phage expression library using a complex antiserum to the T. brucei cytoskeleton. Antisera against the fusion protein product of this 5.20 cDNA recognized a closely-spaced polypeptide doublet of high molecular weight (ca. 180-200 kDa) on immunoblots of T. brucei cytoskeletal preparations. Immunogold labelling suggested the 5.20 protein is intracellular and localized along the entire length of the paraflagellar rod. This pattern is similar to that generated with a monoclonal antibody, ROD1, which recognizes a high molecular weight protein doublet indistinguishable from that detected by 5.20-specific antisera. ROD1 recognizes mammalian spectrin, but the use of specific anti-spectrin antibodies for immunoblotting did not support ideas that 5.20 encodes spectrin or that spectrin can be specifically detected in T. brucei by such methods. Moreover, the sequence of the 5.20 cDNA insert bears little similarity, either in its nucleotide or predicted amino acid sequence to other known proteins and appears to be a unique cytoskeletal protein characterized especially by sequential amino acid sequence repetitiveness. The location of this novel protein suggests it may be responsible for providing either paraflagellar rod-membrane links or for organizing the more abundant paraflagellar rod structural proteins.