Should the enzyme name ‘rhodesain’ be discontinued?

Dietmar Steverding, Conor R. Caffrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Rhodesain is the generic name for the cathepsin L-like peptidase of Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense. The term rhodesain was derived from the subspecies epithet rhodesiense which itself originated form Rhodesia, a historical region in southern Africa named after the 19th century British imperialist and white supremacist Cecil Rhodes. This tainting could be grounds for discontinuing the name, however, there are also scientific grounds. Specifically, protein sequence comparisons and frequency-based difference profiling reveal that rhodesain is essentially identical (99.87-98.44%) to the cathepsin L-like peptidases of both T. b. brucei and T. b. gambiense. Accordingly, and based on a previously proposed terminology for kinetoplastid C1 peptidases (Caffrey and Steverding, 2009), we suggest the use of the formal term, TbrCATL, to denote the cathepsin L-like peptidases of the T. brucei subspecies. The earlier and informal term, ‘brucipain’, could also be used.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111395
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Early online date9 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Cite this