Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

African trypanosomes cause human sleeping sickness and livestock trypanosomiasis in sub-Saharan Africa. We present the sequence and analysis of the 11 megabase-sized chromosomes of Trypanosoma brucei. The 26-megabase genome contains 9068 predicted genes, including approximately 900 pseudogenes and approximately 1700 T. brucei-specific genes. Large subtelomeric arrays contain an archive of 806 variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) genes used by the parasite to evade the mammalian immune system. Most VSG genes are pseudogenes, which may be used to generate expressed mosaic genes by ectopic recombination. Comparisons of the cytoskeleton and endocytic trafficking systems with those of humans and other eukaryotic organisms reveal major differences. A comparison of metabolic pathways encoded by the genomes of T. brucei, T. cruzi, and Leishmania major reveals the least overall metabolic capability in T. brucei and the greatest in L. major. Horizontal transfer of genes of bacterial origin has contributed to some of the metabolic differences in these parasites, and a number of novel potential drug targets have been identified.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





416 - 422


Amino Acids, Animals, Antigenic Variation, Antigens, Protozoan, Carbohydrate Metabolism, Chromosomes, Cytoskeleton, Ergosterol, Genes, Protozoan, Genome, Protozoan, Glutathione, Glycosylphosphatidylinositols, Humans, Lipid Metabolism, Molecular Sequence Data, Protein Transport, Protozoan Proteins, Pseudogenes, Purines, Pyrimidines, Recombination, Genetic, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Spermidine, Trypanosoma brucei brucei, Trypanosomiasis, African