The in vivo RNA structurome of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, a protozoan with an A/U-rich transcriptome

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0270863
Journal / PublicationPLOS ONE
Volume17
Issue number9
Online published1 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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Abstract

Plasmodium falciparum, a protozoan parasite and causative agent of human malaria, has one of the most A/T-biased genomes sequenced to date. This may give the genome and the transcriptome unusual structural features. Recent progress in sequencing techniques has made it possible to study the secondary structures of RNA molecules at the transcriptomic level. Thus, in this study we produced the in vivo RNA structurome of a protozoan parasite with a highly A/U-biased transcriptome. We showed that it is possible to probe the secondary structures of P. falciparum RNA molecules in vivo using two different chemical probes, and obtained structures for more than half of all transcripts in the transcriptome. These showed greater stability (lower free energy) than the same structures modelled in silico, and structural features appeared to influence translation efficiency and RNA decay. Finally, we compared the P. falciparum RNA structurome with the predicted RNA structurome of an A/U-balanced species, P. knowlesi, finding a bias towards lower overall transcript stability and more hairpins and multi-stem loops in P. falciparum. This unusual protozoan RNA structurome will provide a basis for similar studies in other protozoans and also in other unusual genomes.

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The in vivo RNA structurome of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, a protozoan with an A/U-rich transcriptome. / Dumetz, Franck; Enright, Anton J.; Zhao, Jieyu et al.
In: PLOS ONE, Vol. 17, No. 9, e0270863, 2022.

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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