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J Cell Sci. 2018 May 10;131(9). pii: jcs206417. doi: 10.1242/jcs.206417.

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, Bern 3012, Switzerland.
Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences, University of Bern, Bern 3012, Switzerland.
Institute of Cell Biology, University of Bern, Bern 3012, Switzerland


The translationally controlled tumor protein (TCTP; also known as TPT1 in mammals) 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' untranslated regions (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 TCTP2 mRNA stability. 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 the procyclic form cells leads to aberrant cell and mitochondrial organelle morphology, as well as enlarged, and a reduced number of, acidocalcisomes.


3′UTR; Acidocalcisomes; Gene expression regulation; Growth defects; Mitochondria; TCTP; TPT1; Trypanosoma brucei

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interestsThe authors declare no competing or financial interests.

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