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Characterization of P.falciparum histone methyltransferases : biological role and possible targets for new intervention strategies

Abstract : In P. falciparum, PTMs have been shown to play an important role in the control of transcriptional regulation, monoallelic expression, and sexual differentiation. Ten SET domain-containing HKMTs have been predicted; six of them appear to be essential for asexual blood stage development. My lab has expressed and purified two enzymatically active recombinant methyltransferase PfSET7 and PfSET6. In vitro enzyme kinetics assays shows they can methylate histones. The dissertation project is centered around the biological characterization of PfSET7 and PfSET6. We observed the dynamic changes of cellular localization during life cycle: PfSET7 are found in multiple cytoplasmic foci in asexual erythrocytic stages and liver stage, and more strikingly, enriched in parasite membrane in gametocytes. PfSET6 exhibited a nuclear localization in rings and a punctuated pattern in the cytoplasm of mature trophozoites and schizonts, and is enriched within foci-like structures in the cytoplasm of gametocytes. Taken together, our study suggests that non-histone methylation is much more important in P. falciparum than previously anticipated. PfSET7-mediated methylation may be an extension of the histone code to other cytosol proteins; PfSET6 partially associates with transcriptional repression pathways in the nucleus and post-transcriptional regulators in the cytoplasm. Further study aims to identify targets of SET domain containing proteins within the inducible gene knock out mutant parasite lines. The fact that PfSET7 and PfSET6 are expressed in different life cycle stages, makes them as novel targets for drug development that could against severe disease and to block pathogen transmission.
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Shuai Ding. Characterization of P.falciparum histone methyltransferases : biological role and possible targets for new intervention strategies. Parasitology. Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016PA066578⟩. ⟨tel-01956977⟩

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