An analysis of the circumsporozoite (CS) genes of six closely related plasmodia is presented. Like other plasmodial antigens, the CS protein contains tandem repeats flanked by conventional nonrepeated sequences. Our analysis shows that the repeats, which encode the immunodominant epitope of the CS protein, diverge more rapidly than the remainder of the gene, and that the maintenance and evolution of the repeats cannot be explained as the result of selection at the protein level. We argue that a mechanism acts directly on the DNA sequence to constrain the internal divergence of the repeats, and as a result promotes their rapid divergence between taxa.
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 30 Jan 1987|