Identification and characterization of a new Leishmania major specific 3'nucleotidase/nuclease protein

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Oct 10;375(1):54-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.07.099. Epub 2008 Jul 30.


We report the characterization of a new Leishmania major gene, lmaj3'nt/nu, encoding a 382 amino acids protein, Lmaj3'NT/NU, that belongs to the 3'nucleotidase/nuclease family. Interestingly, sequence and phylogenetic analysis show that this protein is Leishmania major specific and thus constitutes a new 3'nucleotidase/nuclease subgroup. Lmaj3'NT/NU displays nuclease enzymatic activity and Western blot analysis shows that it is exclusively expressed in promastigotes. Immunofluorescence microscopy using a specific anti-Lmaj3'NT/NU shows that the protein has a plasma membrane localization. Surprisingly, contrary to the previously described Leishmania mexicana 3'NT/NU, lmaj3'nt/nu is not up-regulated when parasites are cultured under purine starvation conditions. Together, these findings suggest Lmaj3'NT/NU may constitute a new important compound of the L. major purine scavenging pathway and could be involved in sandfly parasite survival and colonization.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / enzymology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Leishmania major / enzymology*
  • Leishmania major / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleotidases / classification
  • Nucleotidases / genetics
  • Nucleotidases / metabolism*
  • Phylogeny
  • Protozoan Proteins / classification
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism*
  • Purines / metabolism


  • Protozoan Proteins
  • Purines
  • Nucleotidases