Summary: The microbial eukaryote displays several distinct cell types in its life cycle, including amoebae, flagellates and plasmodia. Despite its relative simplicity, has a tubulin gene family of complexity comparable to that of . We have identified β-tubulin cDNAs from that are derived from the β-tubulin locus and encode β1A tubulin. We have also identified a partial cDNA for the unlinked β-tubulin gene, which encodes β1B tubulin. The polypeptide sequences encoded by and show 99% identity, but the nucleotide sequences show only 85% identity, consistent with an ancient duplication of these genes. The gene is expressed in amoebae, flagellates and plasmodia, whereas is expressed only in amoebae and flagellates. During the amoeba-flagellate transition the level of transcript increases over 100-fold, while the level of transcript changes very little. Thus has a mechanism for regulating the level of discrete β-tubulin transcripts differentially during flagellate development. A need for this differential regulation could account for the maintenance of the virtually isocoding and β-tubulin genes.


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