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J Cell Sci. 2018 Apr 16. pii: jcs.206417. doi: 10.1242/jcs.206417. [Epub ahead of print]

Distinct 3' UTRs regulate the life-cycle specific expression of two TCTP paralogs in Trypanosoma brucei.

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Institute of Cell Biology, University of Bern, Switzerland.
Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences, University of Bern, Switzerland.
Institute of Cell Biology, University of Bern, Switzerland


The translationally controlled tumor protein (TCTP) is highly conserved and ubiquitously expressed in eukaryotes. It is involved in growth and development, cell cycle progression, protection against cellular stresses and apoptosis, indicating the multifunctional role of the protein. Here, for the first time we characterize the expression and function of TCTP in the human and animal pathogen, Trypanosoma brucei We identified two paralogs (TCTP1 and TCTP2) that are differentially expressed in the life cycle of the parasite. The genes have identical 5' UTRs and almost identical open reading frames. The 3' UTRs differ substantially in sequence and length and are sufficient for the exclusive expression of TCTP1 in procyclic and TCTP2 in bloodstream form parasites. Furthermore, we characterize which parts of the 3' UTR are needed for mRNA stability of TCTP2 RNAi experiments demonstrate that TCTP1 and TCTP2 expression is essential for normal cell growth in procyclic and bloodstream form parasites, respectively. Depletion of TCTP1 in procyclic form cells leads to aberrant cell and mitochondrial organelle morphology as well as enlarged and reduced number of acidocalcisomes.


Cell and organelle morphology; Growth defect; Life cycle specifc expression; TCTP; Trypanosoma brucei; mRNA

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