Cell-cycle-dependent translation of histone mRNAs is the key control point for regulation of histone biosynthesis in Leishmania infantum
Soto, M.; Iborra, S.; Quijada, L.; Folgueira, C.; Alonso, C.; Requena, J.M.
Biochemical Journal 379(Pt 3): 617-625
ISSN/ISBN: 0264-6021 PMID: 14766017 DOI: 10.1042/bj20031522
The cell-cycle-dependent expression of the four core histones (H2A, H2B, H3 and H4) has been studied in the protozoan parasite Leishmania infantum. For that purpose, the cell cycle was arrested by incubation of promastigotes with the DNA synthesis inhibitor hydroxyurea, which induced an accumulation of cells stalled in G1 phase. Hydroxyurea release resulted in a semi-synchronous entry into the cell cycle, as determined by flow cytometry. The steady-state levels of histone mRNAs in the G1, S and G2/M phases were found to be constant along the cell cycle. However, the levels of histone synthesis increased when parasites enter the S phase, in agreement with previous results showing that histone synthesis in Leishmania is tightly coupled with DNA replication. In addition, we analysed the distribution of histone mRNAs on polyribosomes at different stages of the cell cycle by separation of cytoplasmic RNAs in sucrose gradients. Remarkably, a drastic change in the polysome profiles of histone mRNAs was observed during the progression from G1 to S phase. Thus, in the S phase, histone mRNAs are present in ribosome-bound fractions, but in the G1 phase, the histone transcripts are exclusively found in the ribosome-free fractions. These results support a regulatory model in which the cell-cycle-regulated synthesis of histones in Leishmania is controlled through a reversible interaction between translational repressors and histone mRNAs.