Epigenetic mechanisms, nuclear architecture and the control of gene expression in trypanosomes

Sam Alsford, Kelly duBois, David Horn, Mark C. Field

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    20 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The control of gene expression, and more significantly gene cohorts, requires tight transcriptional coordination and is an essential feature of probably all cells. In higher eukaryotes, the mechanisms used involve controlled modifications to both local and global DNA environments, principally through changes in chromatin structure as well as cis-element-driven mechanisms. Although the mechanisms regulating chromatin in terms of transcriptional permissiveness and the relation to developmental programmes and responses to the environment are becoming better understood for animal and fungal cells, it is only just beginning to become clear how these processes operate in other taxa, including the trypanosomatids. Recent advances are now illuminating how African trypanosomes regulate higher-order chromatin structure, and, further, how these mechanisms impact on the expression of major surface antigens that are of fundamental importance to life-cycle progression. It is now apparent that several mechanisms are rather more similar between animal and fungal cells and trypanosomes than it originally appeared, but some aspects do involve gene products unique to trypanosomes. Therefore, both evolutionarily common and novel mechanisms cohabit in trypanosomes, offering both important biological insights and possible therapeutic opportunity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberARTN e13
    Number of pages20
    JournalExpert reviews in molecular medicine
    Volume14
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2012

    Keywords

    • POLYCISTRONIC TRANSCRIPTION UNITS
    • PROTEIN EXPRESSION
    • CHROMATIN-STRUCTURE
    • BRUCEI-BRUCEI
    • PORE COMPLEX
    • RNA-POLYMERASE I
    • ANTIGENIC VARIATION
    • LIFE-CYCLE STAGES
    • POL-II TRANSCRIPTION
    • AFRICAN TRYPANOSOMES

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