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PLoS Genet. 2015 Jul 15;11(7):e1005395. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005395. eCollection 2015 Jul.

Genome-Wide Reprogramming of Transcript Architecture by Temperature Specifies the Developmental States of the Human Pathogen Histoplasma.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States of America.


Eukaryotic cells integrate layers of gene regulation to coordinate complex cellular processes; however, mechanisms of post-transcriptional gene regulation remain poorly studied. The human fungal pathogen Histoplasma capsulatum (Hc) responds to environmental or host temperature by initiating unique transcriptional programs to specify multicellular (hyphae) or unicellular (yeast) developmental states that function in infectivity or pathogenesis, respectively. Here we used recent advances in next-generation sequencing to uncover a novel re-programming of transcript length between Hc developmental cell types. We found that ~2% percent of Hc transcripts exhibit 5' leader sequences that differ markedly in length between morphogenetic states. Ribosome density and mRNA abundance measurements of differential leader transcripts revealed nuanced transcriptional and translational regulation. One such class of regulated longer leader transcripts exhibited tight transcriptional and translational repression. Further examination of these dually repressed genes revealed that some control Hc morphology and that their strict regulation is necessary for the pathogen to make appropriate developmental decisions in response to temperature.

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