A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) screen was used to examine the diversity of myosins in 7 Apicomplexan parasites: Toxoplasma gondii, Plasmodium falciparum, Neospora caninum, Eimeria tenella, Sarcocystis muris, Babesia bovis, and Cryptosporidium parvum. Using degenerate PCR primers compatible with the majority of known myosin classes, putative myosin sequences were obtained from all of these species. All of the sequences obtained showed greatest similarity to previously identified apicomplexan myosins, suggesting that the diversity of myosins in these parasites is limited. Myosin classes that are known to be widespread across the phylogenetic spectrum, e.g., the myosins I, II, and V, were not seen in the Apicomplexa. Thus, like the plants, the Apicomplexa may have evolved their own unique cohort of myosins that are responsible for the myosin-driven cellular functions observed in these parasites.

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