Malaria is caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Plasmodium and involves infection of multiple hosts and cell types during the course of an infection. To complete its complex life cycle the parasite requires strict control of gene regulation for survival and successful propagation. Thus far, the Apicomplexan AP2 (ApiAP2) family of DNA-binding proteins is the sole family of proteins to have surfaced as candidate transcription factors in all apicomplexan species. Work from several laboratories is beginning to shed light on how the ApiAP2 proteins from Plasmodium spp. contribute to the regulation of gene expression at various stages of parasite development. Here we highlight recent progress toward understanding the role of Plasmodium ApiAP2 proteins in DNA related regulatory processes including transcriptional regulation and gene silencing.
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