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Protozoan parasites are one of the oldest living entities in this world that throughout their existence have shown excellent resilience to the odds of survival and have adapted beautifully to ever changing rigors of the environment. In view of the dynamic environment encountered by them throughout their life cycle, and in establishing pathogenesis, it is unsurprising that modulation of gene expression plays a fundamental role in their survival. In higher eukaryotes, untranslated regions (UTRs) of transcripts are one of the crucial regulators of gene expression (influencing mRNA stability and translation efficiency). Parasitic protozoan genome studies have led to the characterization (in silico, in vitro and in vivo) of a large number of their genes. Comparison of higher eukaryotic UTRs with parasitic protozoan UTRs reveals the existence of several similar and dissimilar facets of the UTRs. This review focuses on the elements of UTRs of medically important protozoan parasites and their regulatory role in gene expression. Such information may be useful to researchers in designing gene targeting strategies linked with perturbation of host-parasite relationships leading to control of specific parasites.


Shilpa J Rao, Sangeeta Chatterjee, Jayantapal K Pal. Untranslated regions of mRNA and their role in regulation of gene expression in protozoan parasites. Journal of biosciences. 2017 Mar;42(1):189-207

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PMID: 28229978

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