Complete gene map of the plastid-like DNA of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum

J Mol Biol. 1996 Aug 16;261(2):155-72. doi: 10.1006/jmbi.1996.0449.


Malaria parasites, and other parasitic protists of the Phylum Apicomplexa, carry a plastid-like genome with greatly reduced sequence complexity. This 35 kb DNA circle resembles the plastid DNA of non-photosynthetic plants, encoding almost exclusively components involved in gene expression. The complete gene map described here includes genes for duplicated large and small subunit rRNAs, 25 species of tRNA, three subunits of a eubacterial RNA polymerase, 17 ribosomal proteins, and a translation elongation factor. In addition, it codes for an unusual member of the Clp family of chaperones, as well as an open reading frame of unknown function found in red algal plastids. Transcription is polycistronic. This plastid-like DNA molecule is conserved in several genera of apicomplexans and is conjectured to have been acquired by an early progenitor of the Phylum by secondary endosymbiosis. The function of the organelle (plastid) carrying this DNA remains obscure, but appears to be specified by genes transferred to the nucleus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acids / analysis
  • Animals
  • Base Composition
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosome Mapping*
  • Conserved Sequence / genetics
  • DNA, Protozoan / analysis
  • DNA, Protozoan / genetics*
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology
  • Genes, Protozoan / genetics
  • Genome, Protozoan
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmodium falciparum / genetics*
  • Plastids / genetics*
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Protozoan / analysis
  • Ribosomal Proteins / genetics
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Amino Acids
  • DNA, Protozoan
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Protozoan
  • Ribosomal Proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/X95275
  • GENBANK/X95276