Send to

Choose Destination
Chromosome Res. 2005;13(5):517-24.

Plasmodium telomeres and telomerase: the usual actors in an unusual scenario.

Author information

Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.


In the last decade, telomeres of malaria parasites have been in the spotlight. A number of different host-parasite interactions involve genes that are regulated through processes unique to telomeres. In the highly proliferative human pathogen, Plasmodium falciparum, telomerase appears to not only promote telomere maintenance but also to repair broken chromosome ends. The characterization of the plasmodial gene that encodes the telomerase reverse transcriptase protein has revealed several unusual features. For example, the predicted protein is approximately three times larger than the yeast homologue, due to many insertions of stretches of basic amino acids. Other telomere-associated proteins have also been identified. One of them, the P. falciparum gene homologous to yeast Sir2, seems to be required for the establishment of a heterochromatin-like structure at the telomeres, which leads to the silencing of subtelomeric genes. It has been shown that PfSir2 associates with promoter regions of silenced genes involved in antigenic variation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center