Molecular and General Genetics MGG

, Volume 250, Issue 6, pp 665–673 | Cite as

Cloning and molecular analysis of the bifunctional dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase gene in the ciliated protozoanParamecium tetraurelia

  • I. Martha Schlichtherle
  • David S. Roos
  • Judith L. Van Houten
Original Paper


We have cloned the first bifunctional gene dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase (DHFR-TS) from a free-living, ciliated protozoan,Paramecium tetraurelia, and determined its macronuclear sequence using a modified ligation-mediated polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that can be of general use in cloning strategies, especially where cDNA libraries are limiting. While bifunctional enzyme sequences are known from parasitic protozoa, none had previously been found in free-living protozoa. The AT-rich (68%) coding region spanning 1386 bp appears to lack introns. DHFR-TS localizes to a ≈500 kb macronuclear chromosome and is transcribed as an mRNA of ≈1.66 kb, predicted to encode a 53 kDa protein of 462 residues. The N-terminal one-third of the protein is encoded by DHFR, which is joined by a short junctional peptide of ≈12 amino acids to the highly conserved C-terminal TS domain. Among known DHFR-TS sequences, theP. tetraurelia gene is most similar to that fromToxoplasma gondii, based on primary sequence and parsimony analyses. The predicted secondary protein structure is similar to those of previously crystallized monofunctional sequences.

Key words

Paramecium Dihydrofolate reductase Thymidylate synthase Ciliate Bifunctional enzyme 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Martha Schlichtherle
    • 1
  • David S. Roos
    • 1
  • Judith L. Van Houten
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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