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Project context and summary :
In Plasmodium falciparum a virulence gene family with 60 var genes codes for the PfEMP1 surface proteins, which undergo antigenic variation. This epigenetically controlled mechanism promotes immune evasion of the parasite. As ncRNAs are emerging as relevant regulators of gene expression we are investigating a GC-rich ncRNA gene family consisting of 15 highly homologous members all positioned next to var gene clusters. We recently found that GC-rich ncRNA transcript associates with the distinct nuclear expression site in which a single var gene is transcribed. We hypothesize that GC-rich ncRNAs interact with the nascent mRNA of var virulence genes. We intend to predict potential RNA-RNA interaction with thermodynamic calculation provided by the RNAup software. In silico prediction of potential binding sites and strength of interaction will help to generate hypotheses and inform our further experimental design.Related team publications :
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