Dissecting the role of PfAP2-G in malaria gametocytogenesis

Gabrielle A. Josling, Timothy J. Russell, Jarrett Venezia, Lindsey Orchard, Riëtte van Biljon, Heather J. Painter, Manuel Llinás

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1503
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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