Epigenetic Regulation and var Gene Expression in the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium Falciparum
Dacia Kwiatkowski and Kirk Deitsch
from: Non-coding RNAs and Epigenetic Regulation of Gene Expression: Drivers of Natural Selection (Edited by: Kevin V. Morris). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2012)
Much of what is currently know about complex cellular questions, including regulation of gene expression, RNA production and epigenetic influence, has been derived from experiments performed in well studied model organisms such as yeast, Drosophila, mice or human cell lines. In all of these systems, examples have been described of how non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), which often act in accordance with epigenetic mechanisms, play a vital role in regulating gene expression. These studies have established a strong precedent for the vital role that these molecules can play in complex cellular functions, which is now being extended to other diverse organisms such as viruses and protozoans of distant evolutionary lineages. The focus of this chapter is the role that long ncRNAs play in gene regulation in the protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of the most severe form of human malaria. In particular, we will consider ncRNAs that influence the expression of the genes encoding the primary virulence factors expressed by these parasites, the epigenetic marks associated with them, and how this process enables the parasites to avoid the immune response of their human hosts read more ...