Hierarchical transcriptional control regulates Plasmodium falciparum sexual differentiation

Riëtte Van Biljon, Roelof Van Wyk, Heather J. Painter, Lindsey Orchard, Janette Reader, Jandeli Niemand, Manuel Llinás, Lyn Marie Birkholtz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Malaria pathogenesis relies on sexual gametocyte forms of the malaria parasite to be transmitted between the infected human and the mosquito host but the molecular mechanisms controlling gametocytogenesis remains poorly understood. Here we provide a high-resolution transcriptome of Plasmodium falciparum as it commits to and develops through gametocytogenesis. Results: The gametocyte-associated transcriptome is significantly different from that of the asexual parasites, with dynamic gene expression shifts characterizing early, intermediate and late-stage gametocyte development and results in differential timing for sex-specific transcripts. The transcriptional dynamics suggest strict transcriptional control during gametocytogenesis in P. falciparum, which we propose is mediated by putative regulators including epigenetic mechanisms (driving active repression of proliferation-associated processes) and a cascade-like expression of ApiAP2 transcription factors. Conclusions: The gametocyte transcriptome serves as the blueprint for sexual differentiation and will be a rich resource for future functional studies on this critical stage of Plasmodium development, as the intraerythrocytic transcriptome has been for our understanding of the asexual cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number920
JournalBMC genomics
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 3 2019

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Sex Differentiation
Plasmodium falciparum
Transcriptome
Malaria
Parasites
Plasmodium
Culicidae
Epigenomics
Transcription Factors
Gene Expression

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics

Cite this

Van Biljon, R., Van Wyk, R., Painter, H. J., Orchard, L., Reader, J., Niemand, J., ... Birkholtz, L. M. (2019). Hierarchical transcriptional control regulates Plasmodium falciparum sexual differentiation. BMC genomics, 20(1), [920]. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-019-6322-9
Van Biljon, Riëtte ; Van Wyk, Roelof ; Painter, Heather J. ; Orchard, Lindsey ; Reader, Janette ; Niemand, Jandeli ; Llinás, Manuel ; Birkholtz, Lyn Marie. / Hierarchical transcriptional control regulates Plasmodium falciparum sexual differentiation. In: BMC genomics. 2019 ; Vol. 20, No. 1.
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Van Biljon, R, Van Wyk, R, Painter, HJ, Orchard, L, Reader, J, Niemand, J, Llinás, M & Birkholtz, LM 2019, 'Hierarchical transcriptional control regulates Plasmodium falciparum sexual differentiation', BMC genomics, vol. 20, no. 1, 920. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-019-6322-9

Hierarchical transcriptional control regulates Plasmodium falciparum sexual differentiation. / Van Biljon, Riëtte; Van Wyk, Roelof; Painter, Heather J.; Orchard, Lindsey; Reader, Janette; Niemand, Jandeli; Llinás, Manuel; Birkholtz, Lyn Marie.

In: BMC genomics, Vol. 20, No. 1, 920, 03.12.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Reader, Janette

AU - Niemand, Jandeli

AU - Llinás, Manuel

AU - Birkholtz, Lyn Marie

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N2 - Background: Malaria pathogenesis relies on sexual gametocyte forms of the malaria parasite to be transmitted between the infected human and the mosquito host but the molecular mechanisms controlling gametocytogenesis remains poorly understood. Here we provide a high-resolution transcriptome of Plasmodium falciparum as it commits to and develops through gametocytogenesis. Results: The gametocyte-associated transcriptome is significantly different from that of the asexual parasites, with dynamic gene expression shifts characterizing early, intermediate and late-stage gametocyte development and results in differential timing for sex-specific transcripts. The transcriptional dynamics suggest strict transcriptional control during gametocytogenesis in P. falciparum, which we propose is mediated by putative regulators including epigenetic mechanisms (driving active repression of proliferation-associated processes) and a cascade-like expression of ApiAP2 transcription factors. Conclusions: The gametocyte transcriptome serves as the blueprint for sexual differentiation and will be a rich resource for future functional studies on this critical stage of Plasmodium development, as the intraerythrocytic transcriptome has been for our understanding of the asexual cycle.

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Van Biljon R, Van Wyk R, Painter HJ, Orchard L, Reader J, Niemand J et al. Hierarchical transcriptional control regulates Plasmodium falciparum sexual differentiation. BMC genomics. 2019 Dec 3;20(1). 920. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-019-6322-9