Publications & Reports

Alternative Splicing in Apicomplexan Parasites.

Lee M Yeoh, V Vern Lee, Geoffrey I McFadden, Stuart A Ralph
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia.


Alternative splicing is a widespread, essential, and complex component of gene regulation. Apicomplexan parasites have long been recognized to produce alternatively spliced transcripts for some genes and can produce multiple protein products that are essential for parasite growth. Recent approaches are now providing more wide-ranging surveys of the extent of alternative splicing; some indicate that alternative splicing is less widespread than in other model eukaryotes, whereas others suggest levels comparable to those of previously studied groups. In many cases, apicomplexan alternative splicing events appear not to generate multiple alternative proteins but instead produce aberrant or noncoding transcripts. Nonetheless, appropriate regulation of alternative splicing is clearly essential in Plasmodium and Toxoplasma parasites, suggesting a biological role for at least some of the alternative splicing observed. Several studies have now disrupted conserved regulators of alternative splicing and demonstrated lethal effects in apicomplexans. This minireview discusses methods to accurately determine the extent of alternative splicing in Apicomplexa and discuss potential biological roles for this conserved process in a phylum of parasites with compact genomes.


  • Journal: mBio
  • Published: 19/02/2019
  • Volume: 10
  • Issue: 1