Comparative heterochromatin profiling reveals conserved and unique epigenome signatures linked to adaptation and development of malaria parasites

Fraschka, S. A. et al. (2018) Comparative heterochromatin profiling reveals conserved and unique epigenome signatures linked to adaptation and development of malaria parasites. Cell Host and Microbe, 23(3), 407-420.e8. (doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2018.01.008) (PMID:29503181)

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Heterochromatin-dependent gene silencing is central to the adaptation and survival of Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites, allowing clonally variant gene expression during blood infection in humans. By assessing genome-wide heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) occupancy, we present a comprehensive analysis of heterochromatin landscapes across different Plasmodium species, strains, and life cycle stages. Common targets of epigenetic silencing include fast-evolving multi-gene families encoding surface antigens and a small set of conserved HP1-associated genes with regulatory potential. Many P. falciparum heterochromatic genes are marked in a strain-specific manner, increasing the parasite's adaptive capacity. Whereas heterochromatin is strictly maintained during mitotic proliferation of asexual blood stage parasites, substantial heterochromatin reorganization occurs in differentiating gametocytes and appears crucial for the activation of key gametocyte-specific genes and adaptation of erythrocyte remodeling machinery. Collectively, these findings provide a catalog of heterochromatic genes and reveal conserved and specialized features of epigenetic control across the genus Plasmodium.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:HP1, plasmodium, antigenic variation, epigenetics, gametocytes, gene silencing, heterochromatin, host-parasite interaction, malaria, sexual differentiation.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Marti, Professor Matthias and Brancucci, Dr Nicolas
Authors: Fraschka, S. A., Filarsky, M., Hoo, R., Niederwieser, I., Yam, X. Y., Brancucci, N. M.B., Mohring, F., Mushunje, A. T., Huang, X., Christensen, P. R., Nosten, F., Bozdech, Z., Russell, B., Moon, R. W., Marti, M., Preiser, P. R., Bártfai, R., and Voss, T. S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:Cell Host and Microbe
Publisher:Elsevier (Cell Press)
ISSN (Online):1934-6069
Published Online:01 March 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Cell Host and Microbe 23(3): 407-420.e8
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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