An evolutionary perspective on the kinome of malaria parasites

Eric Talevich, Andrew B. Tobin, Natarajan Kannan, Christian Doerig

Abstract

Malaria parasites belong to an ancient lineage that diverged very early from the main branch of eukaryotes. The approximately 90-member plasmodial kinome includes a majority of eukaryotic protein kinases that clearly cluster within the AGC, CMGC, TKL, CaMK and CK1 groups found in yeast, plants and mammals, testifying to the ancient ancestry of these families. However, several hundred millions years of independent evolution, and the specific pressures brought about by first a photosynthetic and then a parasitic lifestyle, led to the emergence of unique features in the plasmodial kinome. These include taxon-restricted kinase families, and unique peculiarities of individual enzymes even when they have homologues in other eukaryotes. Here, we merge essential aspects of all three malaria-related communications that were presented at the Evolution of Protein Phosphorylation meeting, and propose an integrated discussion of the specific features of the parasite's kinome and phosphoproteome.

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