Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
On-line version ISSN 1414-431X
TEIXEIRA, S.M.R.. Control of gene expression in Trypanosomatidae. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 1998, vol.31, n.12, pp. 1503-1516. ISSN 1414-431X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-879X1998001200001.
The study of mechanisms which control gene expression in trypanosomatids has developed at an increasing rate since 1989 when the first successful DNA transfection experiments were reported. Using primarily Trypanosoma brucei as a model, several groups have begun to elucidate the basic control mechanisms and to define the cellular factors involved in mRNA transcription, processing and translation in these parasites. This review focuses on the most recent studies regarding a subset of genes that are expressed differentially during the life cycle of three groups of parasites. In addition to T. brucei, I will address studies on gene regulation in a few species of Leishmania and the results obtained by a much more limited group of laboratories studying gene expression in Trypanosoma cruzi. It is becoming evident that the regulatory strategies chosen by different species of trypanosomatids are not similar, and that for these very successful parasites it is probably advantageous to employ multiple mechanisms simultaneously. In addition, with the increasing numbers of parasite genes that have now been submitted to molecular dissection, it is also becoming evident that, among the various strategies for gene expression control, there is a predominance of regulatory pathways acting at the post-transcriptional level.
Keywords : Trypanosoma; Leishmania; gene expression; RNA; antigenic variation; VSG.