University of Hertfordshire

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By the same authors

Complement C2 receptor inhibitor trispanning: from man to schistosome

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-31
Number of pages12
JournalSpringer seminars in immunopathology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005


Horizontal gene transfer (HGT), in relation to genetic transfer between hosts and parasites, is a little described mechanism. Since the complement inhibitor CRIT was first discovered in the human Schistosoma parasite (the causative agent of Bilharzia) and in Trypanosoma cruzi (a parasite causing Chagas' disease), it has been found to be distributed amongst various species, ranging from the early teleost cod to rats and humans. In terms of evolutionary distance, as measured in a phylogenetic analysis of these CRIT genes at nucleotide level, the parasitic species are as removed from their human host as is the rat sequence, suggesting HGT. The hypotheses that CRIT in humans and schistosomes is orthologous and that the presence of CRIT in schistosomes occurs as a result of host-to-parasite HGT are presented in the light of empirical data and the growing body of data on mobile genetic elements in human and schistosome genomes. In summary, these data indicate phylogenetic proximity between Schistosoma and human CRIT, identity of function, high nucleotide/amino acid identity and secondary protein structure, as well as identical genomic organization.

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