The invasive and motile stages of apicomplexan protozoans (e.g., merozoites, sporozoites, bradyzoites, tachyzoites, cystozoites, zoites, kinetes) of genera such as Plasmodium, Toxoplasma, Sarcocystis, Eimeria, Isospora, Babesia, Theileria, etc., possess a characteristic cortical structure termed pellicle, which is characterized by an inner double layered membrane complex (IMC) underneath the typical plasma membrane. This inner membrane complex (IMC) is supported by cytoskeletal structures called subpellicular network (SPN). The latter is composed by a series of intermediate filaments, whose major components of constituents include a protein family called alveolins. In Plasmodium species, 13 family members of these proteins have been identified belonging to domain types that – albeit distinct at the primary structure level – are structurally similar, containing tandem repeats with a minimum 12 amino acid periodicity.
KeywordsProtein Family Tandem Repeat Primary Structure Intermediate Filament Structure Level
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