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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 290501, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/290501
Review Article

Telomeric Heterochromatin in Plasmodium falciparum

1Departamento de Biomedicina Molecular, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN), Apartado Postal 14-740, 07360 México, DF, Mexico
2Departamento de Genética y Biología Molecular, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN), Apartado Postal 14-740, 07360 México, DF, Mexico

Received 1 September 2009; Accepted 4 November 2009

Academic Editor: Luis I. Terrazas

Copyright © 2010 Rosaura Hernandez-Rivas et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Until very recently, little was known about the chromatin structure of the telomeres and subtelomeric regions in Plasmodium falciparum. In yeast and Drosophila melanogaster, chromatin structure has long been known to be an important aspect in the regulation and functioning of these regions. Telomeres and subtelomeric regions are enriched in epigenetic marks that are specific to heterochromatin, such as methylation of lysine 9 of histone H3 and lysine 20 of histone H4. In P. falciparum, histone modifications and the presence of both the heterochromatin “writing” (PfSir2, PKMT) and “reading” (PfHP1) machinery at telomeric and subtelomeric regions indicate that these regions are likely to have heterochromatic structure that is epigenetically regulated. This structure may be important for telomere functions such as the silencing of the var gene family implicated in the cytoadherence and antigenic variation of these parasites.