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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Messenger RNA in dormant cells of Sterkiella histriomuscorum (Oxytrichiade): indentification of putative regulatory gene transcripts.

In the absence of food, the oxytrichid Sterkiella histriomuscorum, like many ciliates, enters into dormancy and transforms into a round and walled encysted cell. When transferred back into a feeding medium, the cyst re-transforms into a vegetative cell in a few hours. This encystment-excystment pathway, which is common to many free-living and parasitic protists, is still poorly understood at the molecular level. In order to identify potential dormant transcripts in the cysts of Sterkiella, we have constructed cDNA libraries from mature cysts. Transcripts have been isolated confirming the presence of a mRNA pool in the dormant cells. The sequence analysis of two cDNA indicates open reading frames which show significant similarities to known proteins involved in mechanisms of regulation: 1) nifR3, an element of the nitrogen regulatory system in bacteria and 2) CROC-1, a newly identified human transcription factor. The two corresponding macronuclear genes represent the first putative regulatory genes isolated in ciliates. From a differential screening of the cDNA library against vegetative cDNA, one cyst-specific (and very abundant) transcript has been isolated but the product has not yet been identified. The possible involvment of these new ciliate genes in the excystment process is discussed.[1]


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