A genomic Leishmania major DNA expression library was screened using antibodies raised against L. major membranes. Two different clones were identified that encoded proteins containing regions of tandemly repeated peptides. Clone 20 encodes a repetitive peptide of 14 amino acids, while clone 39 encodes a repetitive peptide of 10 amino acids. DNA from clone 20 hybridized with two RNA species of 9,500 and 5,200 nucleotides in length, while DNA from clone 39 hybridized to a single RNA species of 7,500 nucleotides. Antibodies against clone 20 fusion protein recognized a series of L. major proteins of apparent mol wt 250,000. Regions of repetitive peptides is a characteristic shared by many malarial protein antigens and this feature has been implicated in immune evasion. Intracellular parasites such as Leishmania and Plasmodia, therefore, may have evolved similar mechanisms consisting of the expression of proteins containing tandemly repeating peptides that are involved in immune evasion.

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