IDENTIFICATION AND ANALYSIS OF REGULATORY AND SEXUAL STAGE GENES IN THE GENOMES OF BABESIA AND THEILERIA PARASITES
Alzan, Heba Fathy
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The tick borne apicomplexan parasites Babesia and Theileria are responsible for costly and devastating diseases globally. Improved control is needed but the biology of these parasites remains poorly understood. Significant gaps include better understanding of the mechanisms involved in control of gene expression, and the events leading to parasite development among hosts, including the production of sexual stages in their definitive tick vector hosts. Similar to other better studied eukaryotic cells, it is likely that regulatory genes coding for DNA binding proteins such as members of the Api-AP2, HMG and Myb families play crucial roles as transcription factors in these processes, but these genes remain uncharacterized in Babesia and Theileria parasites. Similarly, development of the parasite in the tick host stages, including sexual stage development, remain poorly characterized. In this study I describe the presence, genomic organization and pattern of expression of three types of regulatory genes in Babesia bovis, B. microti and T. equi, and the definitive structure, characteristics and pattern of expression of the members of the B. bovis 6-Cys gene family, highlighting the importance of the conservation of these genes and their possible contributions to parasite development thorough their different life stages. It is expected that the findings of this research will elicit additional studies in this field and contribute to the development of converged intervention strategies for the improved control of these devastating and generally under-studied diseases.