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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2007 Dec;10(6):569-77. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2007.10.001.

Developmental regulation of gene expression in trypanosomatid parasitic protozoa.

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Research Centre in Infectious Diseases, CHUL Research Centre of Laval University, CHUQ, 2705 Laurier Blvd., Quebec, QC, Canada G1V 4G2.


Kinetoplastids branched early from the eukaryotic lineage and include several parasitic protozoan species. Up to several hundred kinetoplastid genes are co-transcribed into polycistronic RNAs and individual mRNAs are resolved by coupled co-transcriptional trans-splicing of a universal splice-leader RNA (SL-RNA) and 3'-end maturation processes. Protein-coding genes lack RNA polymerase II promoters. Consequently, most of gene regulation in these organisms occurs post-transcriptionally. Over the last few years, many more genes that are regulated at the mRNA stability level and a few at the translation level have been reported. Almost all major trypanosome homologues of yeast/mammalian mRNA degradation enzymes have been functionally characterized and major pathways identified. Novel paradigms have also recently emerged: regulated post-transcriptional processing of cytoplasmic RNAs, SL-RNA transcriptional silencing-mediated global stress response, and Leishmania-specific large-scale modulation of post-transcriptional gene expression via inactive degenerated retroelements. Several of these developments have greatly benefited from the recently completed genomic sequences and functional genomic studies.

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