The PfAP2-G2 transcription factor is a critical regulator of gametocyte maturation

Suprita Singh, Joana M. Santos, Lindsey M. Orchard, Naomi Yamada, Riëtte van Biljon, Heather J. Painter, Shaun Mahony, Manuel Llinás

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Differentiation from asexual blood stages to mature sexual gametocytes is required for the transmission of malaria parasites. Here, we report that the ApiAP2 transcription factor, PfAP2-G2 (PF3D7_1408200) plays a critical role in the maturation of Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes. PfAP2-G2 binds to the promoters of a wide array of genes that are expressed at many stages of the parasite life cycle. Interestingly, we also find binding of PfAP2-G2 within the gene body of almost 3,000 genes, which strongly correlates with the location of H3K36me3 and several other histone modifications as well as Heterochromatin Protein 1 (HP1), suggesting that occupancy of PfAP2-G2 in gene bodies may serve as an alternative regulatory mechanism. Disruption of pfap2-g2 does not impact asexual development, but the majority of sexual parasites are unable to mature beyond stage III gametocytes. The absence of pfap2-g2 leads to overexpression of 28% of the genes bound by PfAP2-G2 and none of the PfAP2-G2 bound genes are downregulated, suggesting that it is a repressor. We also find that PfAP2-G2 interacts with chromatin remodeling proteins, a microrchidia (MORC) protein, and another ApiAP2 protein (PF3D7_1139300). Overall our data demonstrate that PfAP2-G2 establishes an essential gametocyte maturation program in association with other chromatin-related proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1005-1024
Number of pages20
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Volume115
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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