Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Using specific (32P) labelled cDNA probes, we compared the mRNAs and the genomic DNA sequences coding for the synthesis of two pairs of serologically related variant-specific antigens (VSAs) of trypanosomes: AnTat 1.1 and AnTat 1.1b, both from the strain 1125 of T.b.brucei and AnTat 1.8 and LiTat 1.6 from T.b.brucei and T.b. gambiense, respectively. Within each pair, large similarities were observed in the coding sequence, except in the 3' region which appears to be highly variable. However, a low level of cross-hybridization can be detected between all sequences, in the 3' region only. The expression of these VSAs is linked to a similar duplication-transposition mechanism. The insertion locus of the transposition unit is the same both in AnTat 1.1 and AnTat 1.1b DNAs. In both pairs, the transposition unit seems to comprise at least about 200 bp upstream of the 5' extremity of the coding sequence. The significance of these results, regarding the structure and synthesis of the VSAs, is discussed.