1887

Abstract

The ALS gene family of consists of eight genes ( to and ) that encode cell-wall glycoproteins involved in adhesion to host surfaces. Considerable allelic sequence variability has been documented for regions of ALS genes encoding repeated sequences. Although regions of ALS genes encoding non-repeated sequences tend to be more conserved, some sequence divergence has been noted, particularly for alleles of . Data from the genome sequencing project provided the first indication that strain SC5314 encoded two divergent -like sequences and that three of the ALS genes (, and ) were contiguous on chromosome 6. Data from PCR analysis and construction of both single and double deletion mutants indicated that the divergent sequences were alleles of , and located downstream of and . Sequences within the 5′ domain of - and - varied by 11 %. Within the 3′ domain of each allele, extra nucleotides were present in two regions of -, designated Variable Block 1 (VB1) and Variable Block 2 (VB2). Analysis of strains from the five major genetic clades showed that both alleles are widespread among these strains, that the sequences of - and - are conserved among diverse strains and that recombinant alleles have been generated during evolution. Phylogenetic analysis showed that, although divergent in sequence, alleles are more similar to each other than to any other ALS genes. The degree of sequence divergence for greatly exceeds that observed previously for other ALS genes and may result in functional differences for the proteins encoded by the two alleles.

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2003-10-01
2019-10-16
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