Phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate 5-kinase (PIP5K) may play an important role in host-cell invasion by the Eimeria species, protozoan parasites which can cause severe intestinal disease in livestock. Here, we report the structural organization of the PIP5K gene in Eimeria maxima (Weybridge strain). Two E. maxima BAC clones carrying the E. maxima PIP5K (EmPIP5K) coding sequences were selected for shotgun sequencing, yielding a 9.1-kb genomic segment. The EmPIP5K coding region was initially identified using in silico gene-prediction approaches and subsequently confirmed by mapping rapid amplification of cDNA ends and RT-PCR-generated cDNA sequence to its genomic segment. The putative EmPIP5K gene was located at position 710-8036 nt on the complimentary strand and comprised of 23 exons. Alignment of the 1147 amino acid sequence with previously annotated PIP5K proteins from other Apicomplexa species detected three conserved motifs encompassing the kinase core domain, which has been shown by previous protein deletion studies to be necessary for PIP5K protein function. Phylogenetic analysis provided further evidence that the putative EmPIP5K protein is orthologous to that of other Apicomplexa. Subsequent comparative gene structure characterization revealed events of intron loss/gain throughout the evolution of the apicomplexan PIP5K gene. Further scrutiny of the genomic structure revealed a possible trend towards "intron gain" between two of the motif regions. Our findings offer preliminary insights into the structural variations that have occurred during the evolution of the PIP5K locus and may aid in understanding the functional role of this gene in the cellular biology of apicomplexan parasites.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.