Trypanosoma cruzi: molecular characterization of an RNA binding protein differentially expressed in the parasite life cycle.

Laboratorio de Interacciones Moleculares, Facultad de Ciencias, Iguá 4225, 11400 Montevideo, Uruguay.
Experimental Parasitology (Impact Factor: 2.15). 10/2007; 117(1):99-105. DOI: 10.1016/j.exppara.2007.03.010
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Molecular studies have shown several peculiarities in the regulatory mechanisms of gene expression in trypanosomatids. Protein coding genes are organized in long polycistronic units that seem to be constitutively transcribed. Therefore, post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression is considered to be the main point for control of transcript abundance and functionality. Here we describe the characterization of a 17 kDa RNA-binding protein from Trypanosoma cruzi (TcRBP19) containing an RNA recognition motive (RRM). This protein is coded by a single copy gene located in a high molecular weight chromosome of T. cruzi. Orthologous genes are present in the TriTryp genomes. TcRBP19 shows target selectivity since among the different homoribopolymers it preferentially binds polyC. TcRBP19 is a low expression protein only barely detected at the amastigote stage localizing in a diffuse pattern in the cytoplasm.

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    ABSTRACT: Trypanosoma cruzi, a protozoan parasite that causes Chagas disease, exhibits unique mechanisms for gene expression such as constitutive polycistronic transcription of protein-coding genes, RNA editing and trans-splicing. In the absence of mechanism controlling transcription initiation, organized subsets of T. cruzi genes must be post-transcriptionally co-regulated in response to extracellular signals. The mechanisms that regulate stage-specific gene expression in this parasite have become much clearer through sequencing its whole genome as well as performing various proteomic and microarray analyses, which have demonstrated that at least half of the T. cruzi genes are differentially regulated during its life cycle. In this review, we attempt to highlight the recent advances in characterising cis and trans-acting elements in the T. cruzi genome that are involved in its post-transcriptional regulatory machinery.
    Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz 05/2011; 106(3):257-66. · 1.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In Trypanosoma cruzi gene expression regulation mainly relays on post-transcriptional events. Nevertheless, little is known about the signals which control mRNA abundance and functionality. We have previously found that CA repeated tracts (polyCA) are abundant in the vicinity of open reading frames and constitute specific targets for single stranded binding proteins from T. cruzi epimastigote. Given the reported examples of the involvement of polyCA motifs in gene expression regulation, we decided to further study their role in T. cruzi. Using an in silico genome-wide analysis, we identify the genes that contain polyCA within their predicted UTRs. We found that about 10% of T. cruzi genes carry polyCA therein. Strikingly, they are frequently concurrent with GT repeated tracts (polyGT), favoring the formation of a secondary structure exhibiting the complementary polydinucleotides in a double stranded helix. This feature is found in the species-specific family of genes coding for mucine associated proteins (MASPs) and other genes. For those polyCA-containing UTRs that lack polyGT, the polyCA is mainly predicted to adopt a single stranded structure. We further analyzed the functional role of such element using a reporter approach in T. cruzi. We found out that the insertion of polyCA at the 3' UTR of a reporter gene in the pTEX vector modulates its expression along the parasite's life cycle. While no significant change of the mRNA steady state of the reporter gene could be detected at the trypomastigote stage, significant increase in the epimastigote and reduction in the amastigote stage were observed. Altogether, these results suggest the involvement of polyCA as a signal in gene expression regulation in T. cruzi.
    Experimental Parasitology 04/2013; · 2.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To characterise the trypanosomatid-exclusive RNA-binding protein TcRBP19, we analysed the phenotypic changes caused by its overexpression. Although no evident changes were observed when TcRBP19 was ectopically expressed in epimastigotes, the metacyclogenesis process was affected. Notably, TcRBP19 overexpression also led to a decrease in the number of infected mammalian cells. These findings suggest that TcRBP19 may be involved in the life cycle progression of the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite.
    Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz 12/2012; 107(8):1076-9. · 1.36 Impact Factor

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