Integrated analysis of the Plasmodium species transcriptome

EBioMedicine. 2016 May;7:255-66. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.04.011. Epub 2016 Apr 22.


The genome sequence available for different Plasmodium species is a valuable resource for understanding malaria parasite biology. However, comparative genomics on its own cannot fully explain all the species-specific differences which suggests that other genomic aspects such as regulation of gene expression play an important role in defining species-specific characteristics. Here, we developed a comprehensive approach to measure transcriptional changes of the evolutionary conserved syntenic orthologs during the intraerythrocytic developmental cycle across six Plasmodium species. We show significant transcriptional constraint at the mid-developmental stage of Plasmodium species while the earliest stages of parasite development display the greatest transcriptional variation associated with critical functional processes. Modeling of the evolutionary relationship based on changes in transcriptional profile reveal a phylogeny pattern of the Plasmodium species that strictly follows its mammalian hosts. In addition, the work shows that transcriptional conserved orthologs represent potential future targets for anti-malaria intervention as they would be expected to carry out key essential functions within the parasites. This work provides an integrated analysis of orthologous transcriptome, which aims to provide insights into the Plasmodium evolution thereby establishing a framework to explore complex pathways and drug discovery in Plasmodium species with broad host range.

Keywords: Comparative transcriptomics; Drug targets; Evolution; Microarray; Plasmodium species; Transcriptome.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Host Specificity
  • Malaria / parasitology
  • Malaria / veterinary*
  • Mice
  • Phylogeny
  • Plasmodium / classification
  • Plasmodium / genetics*
  • Plasmodium / physiology
  • Species Specificity
  • Synteny