Parassitologia. 1999-09-01; 41.1-3: 69-75.

The malaria genome sequencing project: complete sequence of Plasmodium falciparum chromosome 2

Gardner MJ, Tettelin H, Carucci DJ, Cummings LM, Smith HO, Fraser CM, Venter JC, Hoffman SL

PMID: 10697835


An international consortium has been formed to sequence the entire genome of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. We sequenced chromosome 2 of clone 3D7 using a shotgun sequencing strategy. Chromosome 2 is 947 kb in length, has a base composition of 80.2% A + T, and contains 210 predicted genes. In comparison to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae genome, chromosome 2 has a lower gene density, a greater proportion of genes containing introns, and nearly twice as many proteins containing predicted non-globular domains. A group of putative surface proteins was identified, rifins, which are encoded by a gene family comprising up to 7% of the protein-encoding gene in the genome. The rifins exhibit considerable sequence diversity and may play an important role in antigenic variation. Sixteen genes encoded on chromosome 2 showed signs of a plastid or mitochondrial origin, including several genes involved in fatty acid biosynthesis. Completion of the chromosome 2 sequence demonstrated that the A + T-rich genome of P. falciparum can be sequenced by the shotgun approach. Within 2-3 years, the sequence of almost all P. falciparum genes will have been determined, paving the way for genetic, biochemical, and immunological research aimed at developing new drugs and vaccines against malaria.