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Logo of bmcgenoBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Genomics
BMC Genomics. 2009; 10: 495.
Published online 2009 October 26. doi:  10.1186/1471-2164-10-495
PMCID: PMC2772864

Transcriptome analysis of differentiating trypanosomes reveals the existence of multiple post-transcriptional regulons



Trypanosome gene expression is regulated almost exclusively at the post-transcriptional level, with mRNA degradation playing a decisive role. When trypanosomes are transferred from the blood of a mammal to the midgut of a Tsetse fly, they transform to procyclic forms: gene expression is reprogrammed, changing the cell surface and switching the mode of energy metabolism. Within the blood, trypanosomes can pre-adapt for Tsetse transmission, becoming growth-arrested stumpy forms. We describe here the transitions in gene expression that occur during differentiation of in-vitro cultured bloodstream forms to procyclic forms.


Some mRNAs showed changes within 30 min of cis-aconitate addition, whereas others responded 12-24 hours later. For the first 12 h after addition of cis-aconitate, cells accumulated at the G1 phase of the cell cycle, and showed decreases in mRNAs required for proliferation, mimicking the changes seen in stumpy forms: many mRNAs needed for ribosomal and flagellar biogenesis showed striking co-regulation. Other mRNAs encoding components of signal transduction pathways and potential regulators were specifically induced only during differentiation. Messenger RNAs encoding proteins required for individual metabolic pathways were often co-regulated.


Trypanosome genes form post-transcriptional regulons in which mRNAs with functions in particular pathways, or encoding components of protein complexes, show almost identical patterns of regulation.

Articles from BMC Genomics are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central