Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

3-D structure for malaria parasite genome constructed

Date:
April 4, 2014
Source:
University of California - Riverside
Summary:
A 3-D model of the human malaria parasite genome at three different stages in the parasite's life cycle has been generated -- the first time such 3-D architecture has been generated during the progression of the life cycle of a parasite. The team found that genes that need to be highly expressed in the parasite tend to cluster in the same area of the cell nucleus.

This image shows 3-D modeling of the human malaria parasite genome at one of the stages of its life cycle. Each color represents one of the 14 chromosomes of the parasite genome, the exception being purple (indicates genes known to be involved in virulence).
Credit: Le Roch Lab, University of California Riverside

A research team led by a cell biologist at the University of California, Riverside has generated a 3D model of the human malaria parasite genome at three different stages in the parasite's life cycle -- the first time such 3D architecture has been generated during the progression of the life cycle of a parasite.

The parasite that causes malaria in humans is Plasmodium falciparum. The female Anopheles mosquito transmits P. falciparum from an infected human to healthy individuals, spreading malaria in the process. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 207 million people were infected with malaria in 2012, leading to 627,000 deaths.

"Understanding the spatial organization of chromosomes is essential to comprehend the regulation of gene expression in any eukaryotic cell," said Karine Le Roch, an associate professor of cell biology and neuroscience, who led the study.

Her research team also found that those genes that need to be highly expressed in the malaria parasite -- for example, genes involved in translation -- tend to cluster in the same area of the cell nucleus, while genes that need to be tightly repressed -- for example, genes involved in virulence -- are found elsewhere in the 3D structure in a "repression center." The 3D structure for the malaria parasite genome revealed one major repression center.

Virulence genes in the malaria parasite are a large family of genes that are responsible for the parasite's survival inside humans. Le Roch's team found that these genes, all organized into one repression center in a distinct area in the nucleus, seem to drive the full genome organization of the parasite.

Study results appeared online last week in Genome Research, an international, peer-reviewed journal that features outstanding original research providing novel insights into the genome biology of all organisms. The research paper will appear in print in the June issue of the journal.

"We successfully mapped all physical interactions between genetic elements in the parasite nucleus," Le Roch said. "To do so, we used a 'chromosome conformation capture method,' followed by high throughput sequencing technology -- a recently developed methodology to analyze the organization of chromosomes in the natural state of the cell. We then used the maps of all physical interactions to generate a 3D model of the genome for each stage of the parasite life cycle analyzed."

To understand the biology of an organism or any cell type, scientists need to understand not only the information encoded in the genome sequence but also how the sequence is compacted and physically organized in each cell/tissue, and how changes in the 3D genome architecture can play a critical role in regulating gene expression, chromosome morphogenesis and genome stability. In human cells, changes in chromosome organization and compaction can lead to diseases such as cancer.

"If we understand how the malaria parasite genome is organized in the nucleus and which components control this organization, we may be able to disrupt this architecture and disrupt, too, the parasite development," Le Roch said. "We know that the genome architecture is critical in regulating gene expression and, more important, in regulating genes that are critical for parasite virulence. Now we can more carefully search for components or drugs that can disrupt this organization, helping in the identification of new anti-malaria strategies."

Le Roch's lab is now looking at other stages of the malaria life cycle in order to identify components responsible for the 3D genome architecture.

"The importance of the genome architecture was initially thought to be critical for only higher eukaryotes," she explained. "But we found, to our surprise, that the genome architecture is closely linked to virulence even in the case of the malaria parasite."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Riverside. The original article was written by Iqbal Pittalwala. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. F. Ay, E. M. Bunnik, N. Varoquaux, S. M. Bol, J. Prudhomme, J.-P. Vert, W. S. Noble, K. G. Le Roch. Three-dimensional modeling of the P. falciparum genome during the erythrocytic cycle reveals a strong connection between genome architecture and gene expression. Genome Research, 2014; DOI: 10.1101/gr.169417.113

Cite This Page:

University of California - Riverside. "3-D structure for malaria parasite genome constructed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140404221908.htm>.
University of California - Riverside. (2014, April 4). 3-D structure for malaria parasite genome constructed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140404221908.htm
University of California - Riverside. "3-D structure for malaria parasite genome constructed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140404221908.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) Gertjie the Rhino and Lammie the Lamb are teaching the world about animal conservation and friendship. TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) has the adorable video! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins