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J Biol Chem. 2011 Dec 30;286(52):44467-79. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.278184. Epub 2011 Nov 2.

Nucleus-localized antisense small RNAs with 5'-polyphosphate termini regulate long term transcriptional gene silencing in Entamoeba histolytica G3 strain.

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  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305-5107, USA.

Abstract

In the deep-branching eukaryotic parasite Entamoeba histolytica, transcriptional gene silencing (TGS) of the Amoebapore A gene (ap-a) in the G3 strain has been reported with subsequent development of this parasite strain for gene silencing. However, the mechanisms underlying this gene silencing approach are poorly understood. Here we report that antisense small RNAs (sRNAs) specific to the silenced ap-a gene can be identified in G3 parasites. Furthermore, when additional genes are silenced in the G3 strain, antisense sRNAs to the newly silenced genes can also be detected. Characterization of these sRNAs demonstrates that they are ~27 nucleotides in size, have 5'-polyphosphate termini, and persist even after removal of the silencing plasmid. Immunofluorescence analysis (IFA) and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) show that both the Argonaute protein EhAGO2-2 and antisense sRNAs to the silenced genes are localized to the parasite nucleus. Furthermore, α-EhAGO2-2 immunoprecipitation confirmed the direct association of the antisense sRNAs with EhAGO2-2. Finally, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays demonstrate that the loci of the silenced genes are enriched for histone H3 and EhAGO2-2, indicating that both chromatin modification and the RNA-induced transcriptional silencing complex are involved in permanent gene silencing in G3 parasites. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that G3-based gene silencing in E. histolytica is mediated by an siRNA pathway, which utilizes antisense 5'-polyphosphate sRNAs. To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that 5'- polyphosphate antisense sRNAs can mediate TGS, and it is the first example of RNAi-mediated TGS in protozoan parasites.

PMID:
22049083
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3247957
Free PMC Article

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