Institute of Mathematics and Informatics Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Serdica Journal of Computing, Vol. 12, No 3, (2018), 131p-162p
Gene expression in Plasmodium can be regulated epigenetically similarly to the other eukaryotic species. Methylation is one of the histone modifications that affect chromatin structure and influence gene expression. Recently it was reported that rodent Plasmodium species lack orthologs to [PlasmoDB:PF3D7_0809900], a putative histone demethylase. We take advantage of progress in genomics and perform a whole genome analysis.
Based on sequence and phylogenetic analysis of putative enzymes involved in histone methylation in Plasmodium, we show that rodent malaria parasites lost not only a putative histone demethylase but also a putative histone methylase. In silico prediction showed that these enzymes were likely to target the same lysine in histone H3, and suggested the whole histone-modifying module was lost in rodent Plasmodium species. The evolutionarily old histone modification machinery differs in rodent and primate Plasmodium species, suggesting that change of the histone code during malaria evolution took place early in Plasmodium speciation.