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Genome-Wide Identification and Evolutionary Analysis of Sarcocystis neurona Protein Kinases

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Egerton University, P.O. Box 536, 20115 Njoro, Kenya
Biotechnology Research Institute, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, P.O. Box 57811, Kaptagat Rd, Loresho, 00200 Nairobi, Kenya
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Anthony Underwood
Pathogens 2017, 6(1), 12;
Received: 6 January 2017 / Revised: 10 March 2017 / Accepted: 17 March 2017 / Published: 21 March 2017
PDF [2066 KB, uploaded 22 March 2017]


The apicomplexan parasite Sarcocystis neurona causes equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM), a degenerative neurological disease of horses. Due to its host range expansion, S. neurona is an emerging threat that requires close monitoring. In apicomplexans, protein kinases (PKs) have been implicated in a myriad of critical functions, such as host cell invasion, cell cycle progression and host immune response evasion. Here, we used various bioinformatics methods to define the kinome of S. neurona and phylogenetic relatedness of its PKs to other apicomplexans. We identified 97 putative PKs clustering within the various eukaryotic kinase groups. Although containing the universally-conserved PKA (AGC group), S. neurona kinome was devoid of PKB and PKC. Moreover, the kinome contains the six-conserved apicomplexan CDPKs (CAMK group). Several OPK atypical kinases, including ROPKs 19A, 27, 30, 33, 35 and 37 were identified. Notably, S. neurona is devoid of the virulence-associated ROPKs 5, 6, 18 and 38, as well as the Alpha and RIO kinases. Two out of the three S. neurona CK1 enzymes had high sequence similarities to Toxoplasma gondii TgCK1-α and TgCK1-β and the Plasmodium PfCK1. Further experimental studies on the S. neurona putative PKs identified in this study are required to validate the functional roles of the PKs and to understand their involvement in mechanisms that regulate various cellular processes and host-parasite interactions. Given the essentiality of apicomplexan PKs in the survival of apicomplexans, the current study offers a platform for future development of novel therapeutics for EPM, for instance via application of PK inhibitors to block parasite invasion and development in their host. View Full-Text
Keywords: Sarcocystis neurona; EPM; apicomplexans; phylogeny; homology modeling Sarcocystis neurona; EPM; apicomplexans; phylogeny; homology modeling

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Murungi, E.K.; Kariithi, H.M. Genome-Wide Identification and Evolutionary Analysis of Sarcocystis neurona Protein Kinases. Pathogens 2017, 6, 12.

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