A cDNA clone derived from the locus, encoding one of several α-tubulins in , was sequenced and used to determine the developmental and cell cycle expression patterns of its corresponding gene. The predicted amino acid sequence of the gene product, α1A-tubulin, is 92% identical to the other known α-tubulins, α1B and α2B, which are products of two tightly linked genes at the locus. The nucleotide sequence of the coding region is 82% identical to the two genes. Expression of the gene was found in all three cell types examined — amoeba, flagellate and plasmodium — but at substantially different levels in each. The peak level of message detected in flagellates was 14-fold higher than in amoebae, while the peak level in plasmodia was 5-fold lower than in amoebae. The expression pattern of and the predicted amino acid sequence of the α-tubulin it encodes suggest that α1A is the substrate for post-translational acetylation, giving rise to the α3-tubulin isoform found specifically in amoebae and flagellates. Northern blot analysis of plasmodial RNA samples from specific times in the cell cycle showed that the level of message varies over the cell cycle in a pattern similar to transcripts from other tubulin genes, with a peak at mitosis and little or no message detected during most of interphase.


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