Histone lysine acetylation, normally associated with euchromatin and active genes, is regulated by different families of histone acetyltransferases (HATs). A single Plasmodium falciparum MYST (PfMYST) HAT was expressed as a long and a short version in intraerythrocytic stages. Whereas the recombinant PfMYST expressed in prokaryotes and insect cells did not show HAT activity, recombinant PfMYST purified from the parasites exhibited a predilection to acetylate histone H4 in vitro at K5, K8, K12 and K16. Tagging PfMYST with the green fluorescent protein at the C-terminus showed that PfMYST protein was localized in both the nucleus and cytoplasm. Consistent with the importance of H4 acetylation in var gene expression, PfMYST was recruited to the active var promoter. Attempts to disrupt PfMYST were not successful, suggesting that PfMYST is essential for asexual intraerythrocytic growth. However, overexpression of the long, active or a truncated, non-active version of PfMYST by stable integration of the expression cassette in the parasite genome resulted in changes of H4 acetylation and cell cycle progression. Furthermore, parasites with PfMYST overexpression showed changes in sensitivity to DNA-damaging agents. Collectively, this study showed that PfMYST plays important roles in cellular processes such as gene activation, cell cycle control and DNA repair.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology