Developmental gene regulation in Giardia lamblia: first evidence for an encystation-specific promoter and differential 5' mRNA processing.
ABSTRACT Giardia lamblia must encyst to survive in the environment and subsequently infect new hosts. We investigated the expression of glucosamine-6-phosphate isomerase (Gln6PI), the first enzyme required for biosynthesis of N-acetylgalactosamine, for the major cyst wall polysaccharide. We isolated two Gln6PI genes that encode proteins with large areas of identity, but distinctive central and terminal regions. Both recombinant enzymes have comparable kinetics. Interestingly, these genes have distinct patterns of expression. Gln6PI-A has a conventional, short 5' untranslated region (UTR), and is expressed at a low level during vegetative growth and encystation. The Gln6PI-B gene has two transcripts - one is expressed constitutively and the second species is highly upregulated during encystation. The non-regulated Gln6PI-B transcript has the longest 5'-UTR known for Giardia and is 5' capped or blocked. In contrast, the Gln6PI-B upregulated transcript has a short, non-capped 5'-UTR. A small promoter region (< 56 bp upstream from the start codon) is sufficient for the regulated expression of Gln6PI-B. Gln6PI-B also has an antisense overlapping transcript that is expressed constitutively. A shorter antisense transcript is detected during encystation. This is the first report of a developmentally regulated promoter in Giardia, as well as evidence for a potential role of 5' RNA processing and antisense RNA in differential gene regulation.
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Giardia intestinalis is a common cause of diarrheal disease and it consists of eight genetically distinct genotypes or assemblages (A-H). Only assemblages A and B infect humans and are suggested to represent two different Giardia species. Correlations exist between assemblage type and host-specificity and to some extent symptoms. Phenotypical differences have been documented between assemblages and genome sequences are available for A, B and E. We have characterized and compared the polyadenylated transcriptomes of assemblages A, B and E. Four genetically different isolates were studied (WB (AI), AS175 (AII), P15 (E) and GS (B)) using paired-end, strand-specific RNA-seq. Most of the genome was transcribed in trophozoites grown in vitro, but at vastly different levels. RNA-seq confirmed many of the present annotations and refined the current genome annotation. Gene expression divergence was found to recapitulate the known phylogeny, and uncovered lineage-specific differences in expression. Polyadenylation sites were mapped for over 70% of the genes and revealed many examples of conserved and unexpectedly long 3' UTRs. 28 open reading frames were found in a non-transcribed gene cluster on chromosome 5 of the WB isolate. Analysis of allele-specific expression revealed a correlation between allele-dosage and allele expression in the GS isolate. Previously reported cis-splicing events were confirmed and global mapping of cis-splicing identified only one novel intron. These observations can possibly explain differences in host-preference and symptoms, and it will be the basis for further studies of Giardia pathogenesis and biology.PLoS Computational Biology 03/2013; 9(3):e1003000. · 5.22 Impact Factor
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The protozoan Giardia lamblia parasitizes the human small intestine to cause diseases. It undergoes differentiation into infectious cysts by responding to intestinal stimulation. How the activated signal transduction pathways relate to encystation stimulation remain largely unknown. During encystation, genes encoding cyst wall proteins (CWPs) are coordinately up-regulated by a Myb2 transcription factor. Because cell differentiation is linked to cell cycle regulation, we tried to understand the role of cell cycle regulators, cyclin-dependent kinases (Cdks), in encystation. We found that the recombinant Myb2 was phosphorylated by Cdk-associated complexes and the levels of phosphorylation increased significantly during encystation. We have identified a putative cdk gene (cdk2) by searching the Giardia genome database. Cdk2 was found to localize in the cytoplasm with higher expression during encystation. Interestingly, overexpression of Cdk2 resulted in a significant increase of the levels of cwp gene expression and cyst formation. In addition, the Cdk2-associated complexes can phosphorylate Myb2 and the levels of phosphorylation increased significantly during encystation. Mutations of important catalytic residues of Cdk2 resulted in a significant decrease of kinase activity and ability of inducing cyst formation. Addition of a Cdk inhibitor, purvalanol A, significantly decreased the Cdk2 kinase activity and the levels of cwp gene expression and cyst formation. Our results suggest that the Cdk2 pathway may be involved in phosphorylation of Myb2, leading to activation of the Myb2 function and up-regulation of cwp genes during encystation. The results provide insights into the use of Cdk inhibitory drugs in disruption of Giardia differentiation into cysts.Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2011; 287(6):3733-50. · 4.77 Impact Factor
Article: Functional redundancy of two Pax-like proteins in transcriptional activation of cyst wall protein genes in Giardia lamblia.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The protozoan Giardia lamblia differentiates from a pathogenic trophozoite into an infectious cyst to survive outside of the host. During encystation, genes encoding cyst wall proteins (CWPs) are coordinately induced. Pax family transcription factors are involved in a variety of developmental processes in animals. Nine Pax proteins have been found to play an important role in tissue and organ development in humans. To understand the progression from primitive to more complex eukaryotic cells, we tried to identify putative pax genes in the G. lamblia genome and found two genes, pax1 and pax2, with limited similarity. We found that Pax1 may transactivate the encystation-induced cwp genes and interact with AT-rich initiatior elements that are essential for promoter activity and transcription start site selection. In this study, we further characterized Pax2 and found that, like Pax1, Pax2 was present in Giardia nuclei and it may specifically bind to the AT-rich initiator elements of the encystation-induced cwp1-3 and myb2 genes. Interestingly, overexpression of Pax2 increased the cwp1-3 and myb2 gene expression and cyst formation. Deletion of the C-terminal paired domain or mutation of the basic amino acids of the paired domain resulted in a decrease of nuclear localization, DNA-binding activity, and transactivation activity of Pax2. These results are similar to those found in the previous Pax1 study. In addition, the profiles of gene expression in the Pax2 and Pax1 overexpressing cells significantly overlap in the same direction and ERK1 associated complexes may phosphorylate Pax2 and Pax1, suggesting that Pax2 and Pax1 may be downstream components of a MAPK/ERK1 signaling pathway. Our results reveal functional redundancy between Pax2 and Pax1 in up-regulation of the key encystation-induced genes. These results illustrate functional redundancy of a gene family can occur in order to increase maintenance of important gene function in the protozoan organism G. lamblia.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(2):e30614. · 4.09 Impact Factor