Trypanosomes and Leishmaniae are the agents of several important parasitic diseases threatening hundreds of million human beings worldwide. As they diverged early in evolution, they display original molecular characteristics. These peculiarities are each defining putative specific targets for anti-parasitic drugs. Transcription displays its lot of unique characteristics in trypanosomes and will be taken as an example to uncover these targets. Unique features of transcription in trypanosomes include constitutive and poly-cistronic transcription by RNA polymerase II as well as transcription of protein-coding genes by RNA polymerase I. It is becoming clear that these unique mechanisms are performed by dedicated molecular players. The first of them have been recently characterized. They are reviewed and their suitability as drug targets is commented.
Keywords: Trypanosome, transcription, RNA polymerase, transcription factor, chromatin
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