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© Artur Scherf
Scanning Electron Microscopy of Red Blood Cell infected by Plasmodium falciparum.
Publication : Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. RNA

Translational regulation in blood stages of the malaria parasite Plasmodium spp.: systems-wide studies pave the way

Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique

Published in Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. RNA - 26 May 2016

Vembar SS, Droll D, Scherf A

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 27230797

Wiley Interdiscip Rev RNA 2016 May;

The malaria parasite Plasmodium spp. varies the expression profile of its genes depending on the host it resides in and its developmental stage. Virtually all messenger RNA (mRNA) is expressed in a monocistronic manner, with transcriptional activation regulated at the epigenetic level and by specialized transcription factors. Furthermore, recent systems-wide studies have identified distinct mechanisms of post-transcriptional and translational control at various points of the parasite lifecycle. Taken together, it is evident that ‘just-in-time’ transcription and translation strategies coexist and coordinate protein expression during Plasmodium development, some of which we review here. In particular, we discuss global and specific mechanisms that control protein translation in blood stages of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, once a cytoplasmic mRNA has been generated, and its crosstalk with mRNA decay and storage. We also focus on the widespread translational delay observed during the 48-hour blood stage lifecycle of P. falciparum-for over 30% of transcribed genes, including virulence factors required to invade erythrocytes-and its regulation by cis-elements in the mRNA, RNA-processing enzymes and RNA-binding proteins; the first-characterized amongst these are the DNA- and RNA-binding Alba proteins. More generally, we conclude that translational regulation is an emerging research field in malaria parasites and propose that its elucidation will not only shed light on the complex developmental program of this parasite, but may also reveal mechanisms contributing to drug resistance and define new targets for malaria intervention strategies. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27230797