September 22, 2019  |  

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

Authors: Fraschka, Sabine A and Filarsky, Michael and Hoo, Regina and Niederwieser, Igor and Yam, Xue Yan and Brancucci, Nicolas M B and Mohring, Franziska and Mushunje, Annals T and Huang, Ximei and Christensen, Peter R and Nosten, Francois and Bozdech, Zbynek and Russell, Bruce and Moon, Robert W and Marti, Matthias and Preiser, Peter R and Bártfai, Richárd and Voss, Till S

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. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Journal: Cell host & microbe
DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2018.01.008
Year: 2018

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