Actin is a ubiquitous and highly conserved microfilament protein that is hypothesized to play a mechanical force-generating role in the unusual gliding motility of sporozoan zoites and their active penetration of host cells. We have identified and isolated an actin gene from a Babesia gibsoni cDNA library by random sequencing. The complete nucleotide sequence of the actin gene is 1,243 bp; a single open reading frame encodes a polypeptide of 377 amino acid residues. The deduced amino acid sequence showed a high homology with actins from other species, especially with reported apicomplexan protozoans. The antiserum against recombinant actin expressed in Escherichia coli recognizes a 42-kDa native protein, which is consistent with its expected size. Immunofluorescence and confocal microscopic observation revealed that the protein is diffusely distributed throughout the B. gibsoni parasites.

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