Gene duplication in trypanosomatids - Two DED1 paralogs are functionally redundant and differentially expressed during the life cycle

Alexandra Zinoviev, Yael Akum, Tal Yahav, Michal Shapira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

DED1/VAS belong to the DEAD-box family of RNA helicases that are associated with translation initiation in higher eukaryotes. Here we report on two DED1/VAS homologs that were identified in the genome of Leishmania. The two paralogs include all the domains that are typical of DEAD-box proteins and a phylogenetic analysis suggests that their duplication predates the branching of DED1 and VAS, which took place along with the appearance of early metazoans. The two Leishmania DED1 paralogs complement a yeast strain that fails to express the endogenous DED1, suggesting that they are responsible for a similar function. This is also supported by RNAi-mediated silencing experiments performed in Trypanosoma brucei. The two proteins are functionally redundant, since defects in protein synthesis and cell growth arrest were observed only when both paralogs were eliminated. A partial stage-specific specialization is observed, as LeishDED1-2 is more abundant in promastigotes, whereas expression of LeishDED1-1 increases in amastigotes. Duplication of an essential gene usually offers a safety net against mutations but in this case it also generated two proteins with stage specific expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-136
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Volume185
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2012

Keywords

  • DEAD-box protein
  • DED1
  • Leishmania
  • Translation
  • Trypanosoma
  • VAS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Molecular Biology

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