Surface antigens and potential virulence factors from parasites detected by comparative genomics of perfect amino acid repeats

Fankhauser, Niklaus; Nguyen-Ha, Tien-Minh; Adler, Joël; Mäser, Pascal (2007). Surface antigens and potential virulence factors from parasites detected by comparative genomics of perfect amino acid repeats. Proteome science, 5(December), p. 20. London: BioMed Central 10.1186/1477-5956-5-20

6.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (446kB) | Preview

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Many parasitic organisms, eukaryotes as well as bacteria, possess surface antigens with amino acid repeats. Making up the interface between host and pathogen such repetitive proteins may be virulence factors involved in immune evasion or cytoadherence. They find immunological applications in serodiagnostics and vaccine development. Here we use proteins which contain perfect repeats as a basis for comparative genomics between parasitic and free-living organisms. RESULTS: We have developed Reptile, a program for proteome-wide probabilistic description of perfect repeats in proteins. Parasite proteomes exhibited a large variance regarding the proportion of repeat-containing proteins. Interestingly, there was a good correlation between the percentage of highly repetitive proteins and mean protein length in parasite proteomes, but not at all in the proteomes of free-living eukaryotes. Reptile combined with programs for the prediction of transmembrane domains and GPI-anchoring resulted in an effective tool for in silico identification of potential surface antigens and virulence factors from parasites. CONCLUSION: Systemic surveys for perfect amino acid repeats allowed basic comparisons between free-living and parasitic organisms that were directly applicable to predict proteins of serological and parasitological importance. An on-line tool is available at

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Cell Biology

UniBE Contributor:

Mäser, Pascal




BioMed Central




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:57

Last Modified:

23 Dec 2014 04:56

Publisher DOI:


Web of Science ID:




URI: (FactScience: 52833)

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback