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Open Access Research

A computational model of gene expression reveals early transcriptional events at the subtelomeric regions of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum

Matthias Scholz* and Martin J Fraunholz

Author Affiliations

Competence Center for Functional Genomics, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University, Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn Strasse, D-17487 Greifswald, Germany

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Genome Biology 2008, 9:R88  doi:10.1186/gb-2008-9-5-r88

Published: 27 May 2008

Abstract

Background

The malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, replicates asexually in a well-defined infection cycle within human erythrocytes (red blood cells). The intra-erythrocytic developmental cycle (IDC) proceeds with a 48 hour periodicity.

Results

Based on available malaria microarray data, which monitored gene expression over one complete IDC in one-hour time intervals, we built a mathematical model of the IDC using a circular variant of non-linear principal component analysis. This model enables us to identify rates of expression change within the data and reveals early transcriptional events at the subtelomeres of the parasite's nuclear chromosomes.

Conclusion

A delay between subtelomeric and central gene activities suggests that key events of the IDC are initiated at the subtelomeric regions of the P. falciparum nuclear chromosomes.