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International Journal of Genomics
Volume 2017, Article ID 1707231, 9 pages
Research Article

Evolution of the Apicomplexan Sugar Transporter Gene Family Repertoire

1Department of Genetics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
2Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
3Institute of Bioinformatics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Jessica C. Kissinger; ude.agu@gnissikj

Received 17 January 2017; Accepted 30 March 2017; Published 7 May 2017

Academic Editor: Marco Gerdol

Copyright © 2017 Ousman Mahmud and Jessica C. Kissinger. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Apicomplexan protist parasites utilize host sugars transported into the parasite by sugar transporter proteins for use as an energy source. We performed a phylum-wide phylogenetic analysis of the apicomplexan sugar transporter repertoire. Phylogenetic analyses revealed six major subfamilies of apicomplexan sugar transporters. Transporters in one subfamily have undergone expansions in Piroplasma species and Gregarina niphandrodes, while other subfamilies are highly divergent and contain genes found in only one or two species. Analyses of the divergent apicomplexan subfamilies revealed their presence in ciliates, indicating their alveolate ancestry and subsequent loss in chromerids and many apicomplexans.