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Evidence for four distinct major protein components in the paraflagellar rod of Trypanosoma cruzi.


The major structural proteins present in the paraflagellar rod of Trypanosoma cruzi migrate on SDS-polyacrylamide gels as two distinct electrophoretic bands. The gene encoding a protein present in the faster migrating band, designated PAR 2, has been identified previously. Here we report the isolation and partial characterization of three genes, designated par 1, par 3, and par 4, that encode proteins present in the two paraflagellar rod protein bands. Peptide-specific polyclonal antibodies and monoclonal antibodies against the four proteins encoded by these genes shows that PAR 1 and PAR 3 are present only in the slower migrating paraflagellar rod band, and that PAR 2 and PAR 4 are present only in the faster migrating band. Analysis of the nucleotide sequence of these genes and the amino acid sequence of the conceptual proteins encoded by them indicates that par 2 shares high sequence similarity with par 3 and both are members of a common gene family, of which par 1 may be a distant member. Analysis of gene copy number and steady-state RNA levels suggest that the close stoichiometric ratio of the four PAR proteins is likely maintained by homeostatic regulation of RNA levels rather than gene dosage.

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