Mar 28, 2020

An atypical DYRK kinase connects quorum-sensing with posttranscriptional gene regulation in Trypanosoma brucei

Mathieu CaylaKeith R Matthews


The sleeping sickness parasite, Trypanosoma brucei, uses quorum sensing (QS) to balance proliferation and transmission potential in the mammal bloodstream. A signal transduction cascade regulates this process, a component of which is a divergent member of the DYRK family of protein kinases, TbDYRK. Phylogenetic and mutational analysis in combination with activity and phenotypic assays revealed that TbDYRK exhibits a pre-activated conformation and an atypical HxY activation loop motif, unlike DYRK kinases in other eukaryotes. Phosphoproteomic comparison of TbDYRK null mutants with wild-type parasites identified molecules that operate on both the inhibitory 'slender retainer' and activatory 'stumpy inducer' arms of the QS control pathway. One of these molecules, the RNA-regulator TbZC3H20, regulates parasite QS, this being dependent on the integrity of its TbDYRK phosphorylation site. This analysis reveals fundamental differences to conventional DYRK family regulation and links trypanosome environmental sensing, signal transduction and developmental gene expression in a coherent pathway.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Phylogenetic Analysis
African Trypanosomiasis
Posttranscriptional Regulation of Gene Expression
Signal Transduction
Trypanosoma brucei brucei
Protein KINASE
DYRK1A gene
Quorum Sensing
Disease Transmission

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African trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness, is an insect-borne parasitic disease of humans and other animals. It is caused by protozoa of the species Trypanosoma brucei and almost invariably progresses to death unless treated. Discover the latest research on African trypanosomiasis here.