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Home > Departments > Genome Biology > Joana SANTOS : Transcription regulation in the malaria parasite

Joana SANTOS : Group Presentation

The goal of the Santos team is to understand how the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum transcriptionally commits within the host cell, the erythrocyte. The research team uses molecular, genetic and cellular approaches to identify and characterize parasite transcription factors, in order to identify possible new drug targets

Malaria, a disease that kills half a million people, each year in the world, is caused by the eukaryotic parasite Plasmodium. In the lab we study the human malaria parasite P. falciparum.

The Plasmodium genome is organized similarly to other eukaryotes and gene expression is regulated, among others, by binding of transcription factors (TFs) to promoter regions upstream of gene bodies. During the RBC cycle, gene expression is tightly regulated with maximal transcription of each gene being reached only once, immediately preceded by chromatin opening. We have previously identified and characterized the parasite-specific protein AP2-I as the TF binding to the NGGTGCA invasion motif present in the promoter of a series of genes encoding for proteins that mediate invasion of RBCs.

In the lab we develop new tools and use a combination of molecular, genetic and imaging approaches to:

  • study mechanisms of transcription regulation in the malaria parasite;
  • identify new parasite TFs;
  • characterize TF complexes.

Key words :

malaria, transcription factor, commitment, drug target, gene expression, parasite

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Twitter : @SantosLabI2BC

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by Communication - published on , updated on