Genomic organization, transcription, splicing and gene regulation in Leishmania

Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 1999 Dec;93(8):781-807. doi: 10.1080/00034989957781.


The parasitic protozoan Leishmania is the aetiological agent of a spectrum of clinical diseases, ranging from disfiguring skin lesions to life-threatening visceral infection, and is a serious health problem in tropical and subtropical areas world-wide. Leishmania parasites undergo a dramatic transformation as they move between the different environments of an extracellular insect stage and an intracellular form in the vertebrate host. In an attempt to develop new strategies for the treatment of leishmaniasis, the techniques of molecular genetics have been utilised to elucidate the mechanisms which direct and control this cyclical differentiation. This review discusses current knowledge concerning the organization and regulation of the Leishmania nuclear genome and includes a discussion of chromosomal organization, genomic arrangement, transcription, transcript processing by trans-splicing and polyadenylation, and post-transcriptional regulation. The salient features as well as the supporting evidence for each topic are briefly reviewed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Genome, Protozoan*
  • Humans
  • Leishmania / genetics*
  • RNA Splicing / physiology
  • Transcription, Genetic / physiology