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Title: Regulation of antigenic variation by trypanosoma brucei telomere proteins depends on their unique DNA binding activities
Authors: Li, B
Zhao, Y 
Issue Date: Aug-2021
Source: Pathogens, Aug. 2021, v. 10, no. 8, 967
Abstract: Trypanosoma brucei causes human African trypanosomiasis and regularly switches its major surface antigen, Variant Surface Glycoprotein (VSG), to evade the host immune response. Such antigenic variation is a key pathogenesis mechanism that enables T. brucei to establish long-term infections. VSG is expressed exclusively from subtelomere loci in a strictly monoallelic manner, and DNA recombination is an important VSG switching pathway. The integrity of telomere and subtelomere structure, maintained by multiple telomere proteins, is essential for T. brucei viability and for regulating the monoallelic VSG expression and VSG switching. Here we will focus on T. brucei TRF and RAP1, two telomere proteins with unique nucleic acid binding activities, and summarize their functions in telomere integrity and stability, VSG switching, and monoallelic VSG expression. Targeting the unique features of TbTRF and TbRAP1′ s nucleic acid binding activities to perturb the integrity of telomere structure and disrupt VSG monoallelic expression may serve as potential therapeutic strategy against T. brucei.
Keywords: Antigenic variation
DNA binding activity
Myb domain
Trypanosoma brucei
Publisher: MDPI AG
Journal: Pathogens 
EISSN: 2076-0817
DOI: 10.3390/pathogens10080967
Rights: © 2021 by the authors.Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.This article is an open access articledistributed under the terms andconditions of the Creative CommonsAttribution (CC BY) license (
The following publication Li, B.; Zhao, Y. Regulation of Antigenic Variation by Trypanosoma brucei Telomere Proteins Depends on Their Unique DNA Binding Activities. Pathogens 2021, 10, 967 is available at
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