In the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, the switch from asexual multiplication to sexual differentiation into gametocytes is essential for transmission to mosquitos. The transcription factor PfAP2-G is a key determinant of sexual commitment that orchestrates this crucial cell fate decision. Here we identify the direct targets of PfAP2-G and demonstrate that it dynamically binds hundreds of sites across the genome. We find that PfAP2-G is a transcriptional activator of early gametocyte genes, and identify differences in PfAP2-G occupancy between gametocytes derived via next-cycle and same-cycle conversion. Our data implicate PfAP2-G not only as a transcriptional activator of gametocyte genes, but also as a potential regulator of genes important for red blood cell invasion. We also find that regulation by PfAP2-G requires interaction with a second transcription factor, PfAP2-I. These results clarify the functional role of PfAP2-G during sexual commitment and early gametocytogenesis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Chemistry
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Physics and Astronomy