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Nucleic Acids Res. 2005 Jul 28;33(13):4235-42. Print 2005.

Assigning functions to genes: identification of S-phase expressed genes in Leishmania major based on post-transcriptional control elements.

Author information

1
Department of Parasitology, The Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, The Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem 91120, Israel.

Abstract

Assigning functions to genes is one of the major challenges of the post-genomic era. Usually, functions are assigned based on similarity of the coding sequences to sequences of known genes, or by identification of transcriptional cis-regulatory elements that are known to be associated with specific pathways or conditions. In trypanosomatids, where regulation of gene expression takes place mainly at the post-transcriptional level, new approaches for function assignment are needed. Here we demonstrate the identification of novel S-phase expressed genes in Leishmania major, based on a post-transcriptional control element that was recognized in Crithidia fasciculata as involved in the cell cycle-dependent expression of several nuclear and mitochondrial S-phase expressed genes. Hypothesizing that a similar regulatory mechanism is manifested in L.major, we have applied a computational search for similar control elements in the genome of L.major. Our computational scan yielded 132 genes, of which 33% are homologues of known DNA metabolism genes and 63% lack any annotation. Experimental testing of seven of these genes revealed that their mRNAs cycle throughout the cell cycle, reaching a maximum level during S-phase or just prior to it. It is suggested that screening for post-transcriptional control elements associated with a specific function provides an efficient method for assigning functions to trypanosomatid genes.

PMID:
16052032
PMCID:
PMC1181863
DOI:
10.1093/nar/gki742
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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