Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Sarcocystis neurona Protein Kinases: Computational Identification, Evolutionary Analysis and Putative Inhibitor Docking

Version 1 : Received: 6 January 2017 / Approved: 9 January 2017 / Online: 9 January 2017 (05:19:32 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.


The apicomplexan parasite, Sarcocystis neurona causes the degenerative neurological equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) disease of horses. Due to its host range expansion, S. neurona is an emerging threat that requires close monitoring. In apicomplexans, protein kinases (PKs) have been implicated in a myriad of critical functions such as host cell invasion, cell cycle progression and host immune responses evasion. Here, we used various bioinformatics methods to define the kinome of S. neurona and phylogenetic relatedness of its PKs to other apicomplexans. Further, three-dimensional (3D) homology models for selected S. neurona putative PKs were constructed and evaluated for inhibitor docking. We identified 92 putative PKs clustering within the AGC, CAMK, CK1, CMGC, STE, TKL, aPK and OPK groups. Although containing the universally conserved PKA (AGC group), S. neurona kinome was devoid of PKB and PKC, but contained the six apicomplexan conserved CDPKs (CAMK group). The OPK group was represented by ROPKs 19A, 27, 30, 33, 35 and 37, but was devoid of the virulence-associated ROPKs 5, 6, 18 and 38. Two out of the three S. neurona CK1 enzymes had high sequence similarities to T. gondii TgCK1-α and TgCK1-β and the Plasmodium PfCK1. Docking of four inhibitors onto homology models of putative ROP27 and PKA indicated that inhibition of S. neurona PKs is feasible, but needs to be experimentally tested. The essentiality of apicomplexan PKs makes the elucidation of S. neurona kinome a key milestone for development of novel therapeutics for EPM.


Sarcocystis neurona; EPM; docking; apicomplexans; phylogeny; homology modeling


Biology and Life Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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