Plasmodial gene regulation
Each of the stages of the parasite's life cycle requires a distinct gene expression profile. We investigate molecular mechanisms underlying gene expression in malaria parasites, such as chromatin and DNA secondary structures.
Telomere DNA biology
Telomeres are specialized protein-DNA structures that protect chromosome ends from degradation and fusion, and are essential for complete replication of chromosomes. We are interested in Plasmodium telomeres since they provide a functional and structural support for antigenic variation and evolution of subtelomeric virulence gene families.
DNA double strand (DSB) break repair
In P. falciparum, genetic diversity and evolutionary plasticity are major obstacles for malaria elimination. Much of this variability comes from copy number variations, which involve changes in the structure of the chromosomes and arise from the repair of DSBs. Understanding plasmodial DSB repair pathways can help us to uncover mechanisms by which genetic diversity is generated.
Our team adapted the CRISPR/Cas9 for P. falciparum, a breakthrough in plasmodial genome editing (Â Ghorbal et al., 2014Â ) . Currently, we are developing new CRISPR-Cas9 tools to study malaria parasite virulence mechanisms.