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Temporal co-ordination of macroschizont and merozoite gene expression during stage differentiation ofTheileria annulata

Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0166-6851(01)00222-5
  • Apicomplexa
  • Differentiation
  • Gene Expression.


Abstract The bovine parasite, Theileria annulata has a complex life-cycle involving the expression and repression of genes during development of its morphologically distinct life-cycle stages. In order to detail the molecular events that occur during differentiation of the intracellular multinucleate macroschizont to the extra-cellular uninucleate merozoite, we have isolated two genes, Tash1 and Tash2 which are differentially expressed during differentiation. Nuclear run on data show that Tash1 gene expression is controlled, at least in part, at the level of transcription. Immunofluorescence data identify the macroschizont as the location for both Tash1 and Tash2 gene products. Northern blot analysis of these genes indicated that their mRNA levels decrease during differentiation in vitro, at a time point coincident with major elevation in the mRNA levels of the merozoite antigen, Tams1, shown previously to be associated with commitment to merozoite production. Furthermore, experiments where cultures were incubated at 41°C for 4 days and replaced at 37°C for 2 days demonstrated that re-expression of Tash1 occurred and is probably linked to reversion to the macroschizont and decreased expression of Tams1. These results imply that the control of macroschizont and merozoite gene expression during differentiation is closely co-ordinated temporally. In addition, a comparison of Tash2 and Tams1 expression has indicated that translational or post-translational control of gene expression may operate in the undifferentiated macroschizont.

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