Biosynthetically radiolabelled Theileria parva schizonts were purified from bovine lymphoblastoid cells and their proteins were analyzed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and autoradiography. The protein spot patterns of schizont proteins from three stocks of T. parva parva indicated that the phenotypic diversity among the stocks was minimal, with the Mariakani and Uganda stocks being identical and the Muguga stock showing only a few differences in minor spots. Comparison of the spot patterns of schizonts of three T. parva subspecies showed that T. p. parva and T. p. bovis differed in only one protein and thus could not be reliably distinguished on the basis of their protein differences. However, T. p. lawrencei showed several protein differences and could be distinguished easily from the other subspecies. Differences in schizont-protein spot patterns were also seen when two different cell lines were infected with the same Theileria stabilate, when one cell line was infected with two different stabilates of the same stock and when uncloned and cloned infected cell lines were used. These results suggest the possibility that selection of phenotypically different parasites could occur in vivo or in vitro.
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