Genetics of antigenic variation in Plasmodium falciparum.

TitleGenetics of antigenic variation in Plasmodium falciparum.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsDzikowski R, Deitsch KW
JournalCurr Genet
Date Published2009 Apr
KeywordsAnimals, Antigenic Variation, Antigens, Protozoan, Cell Nucleus, Epigenesis, Genetic, Host-Parasite Interactions, Humans, Malaria, Falciparum, Plasmodium falciparum, Protozoan Proteins, Regulatory Elements, Transcriptional

Malaria caused by the protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum is characterized by long-term, persistent infections that can last for many months. The ability of this parasite to avoid clearance by the human immune system is dependent on its capacity to continuously alter the surface exposed antigenic proteins that that are vulnerable to antibody recognition and attack, a process called antigenic variation. Significant work in recent years has contributed to our understanding of the mechanisms underlying this process, including the genes encoding the antigenic proteins and the DNA sequence elements that control their expression. In addition, the epigenetic "marks" that are associated with activation and silencing of individual genes have been extensively characterized. These studies have led to a model that includes multiple layers of regulation that ultimately lead to the tight coordination of expression of the genes responsible for antigenic variation by malaria parasites. Here we review some more recent data that adds additional complexity to our understanding of these regulatory layers.

Alternate JournalCurr Genet
PubMed ID19242694
PubMed Central IDPMC3640992
Grant ListR01 AI052390 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States
AI 52390 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States

Weill Cornell Medicine Microbiology and Immunology 1300 York Avenue, Box 62 New York, NY 10065 Phone: (212) 746-6505 Fax: (212) 746-8587