Genome sequence of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.
Gardner MJ., Hall N., Fung E., White O., Berriman M., Hyman RW., Carlton JM., Pain A., Nelson KE., Bowman S., Paulsen IT., James K., Eisen JA., Rutherford K., Salzberg SL., Craig A., Kyes S., Chan MS., Nene V., Shallom SJ., Suh B., Peterson J., Angiuoli S., Pertea M., Allen J., Selengut J., Haft D., Mather MW., Vaidya AB., Martin DM., Fairlamb AH., Fraunholz MJ., Roos DS., Ralph SA., McFadden GI., Cummings LM., Subramanian GM., Mungall C., Venter JC., Carucci DJ., Hoffman SL., Newbold C., Davis RW., Fraser CM., Barrell B.
The parasite Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for hundreds of millions of cases of malaria, and kills more than one million African children annually. Here we report an analysis of the genome sequence of P. falciparum clone 3D7. The 23-megabase nuclear genome consists of 14 chromosomes, encodes about 5,300 genes, and is the most (A + T)-rich genome sequenced to date. Genes involved in antigenic variation are concentrated in the subtelomeric regions of the chromosomes. Compared to the genomes of free-living eukaryotic microbes, the genome of this intracellular parasite encodes fewer enzymes and transporters, but a large proportion of genes are devoted to immune evasion and host-parasite interactions. Many nuclear-encoded proteins are targeted to the apicoplast, an organelle involved in fatty-acid and isoprenoid metabolism. The genome sequence provides the foundation for future studies of this organism, and is being exploited in the search for new drugs and vaccines to fight malaria.