Abstract : Co-ordinate expression of distinct families of genes is observed during asexual multiplication or sexual development of Plasmodium falciparum in human erythrocytes. These changes of cell status are probably due to differential gene expression controlled by regulation of transcription. This regulation requires two main actors whose interaction is crucial for transcription regulation.
A set of genes, whose expression is co-ordinated or altered because of the inhibition of a transcription factor, should share within their promoters some regulatory elements allowing them to be transcribed at a given moment of the development. Diverse regulatory elements have been searched for with several bioinformatic programs and positioned all along the promoter sequences. In addition, some of the regulatory elements have been combined to elicit putative modules of regulation.
Factors able to bind DNA have been searched for by sequence homology. Open reading frames encoding factors belonging to families of proteins with Myb domains, zinc fingers or beta-scaffold structures have been revealed and the corresponding proteins modelled by homology. The cloning and the biochemical characterisation of several studied transcription factors have confirmed the relevance of the bioinformatic identification of these proteins.
The characterisation of dynamic interactions between regulatory elements and transcription factors should allow a best knowledge of the parasite development and might provide a new strategy to fight against this important human pathogen.