Intermediate-size noncoding RNAs (is-ncRNAs) have been shown to play important regulatory roles in the development of several eukaryotic organisms. However, they have not been thoroughly explored in Plasmodium falciparum, which is the most virulent malaria parasite infecting human being. By using Illumina/Solexa paired-end sequencing of an is-ncRNA-specific library, we performed a systematic identification of novel is-ncRNAs in intraerythrocytic P. falciparum, strain 3D7. A total of 1,198 novel is-ncRNA candidates, including antisense, intergenic, and intronic is-ncRNAs, were identified. Bioinformatics analyses showed that the intergenic is-ncRNAs were the least conserved among different Plasmodium species, and antisense is-ncRNAs were more conserved than their sense counterparts. Twenty-two novel snoRNAs were identified, and eight potential novel classes of P. falciparum is-ncRNAs were revealed by clustering analysis. The expression of randomly selected novel is-ncRNAs was confirmed by RT-PCR and northern blotting assays. An obvious different expressional profile of the novel is-ncRNA between the early and late intraerythrocytic developmental stages of the parasite was observed. The expression levels of the antisense RNAs correlated with those of their cis-encoded sense RNA counterparts, suggesting that these is-ncRNAs are involved in the regulation of gene expression of the parasite. In conclusion, we accomplished a deep profiling analysis of novel is-ncRNAs in P. falciparum, analysed the conservation and structural features of these novel is-ncRNAs, and revealed their differential expression patterns during the development of the parasite. These findings provide important information for further functional characterisation of novel is-ncRNAs during the development of P. falciparum. © 2014 Wei et al.
C., W., T., X., P., Z., Z., W., X., C., L., Z., … H., W. (2014). Deep profiling of the novel intermediate-size noncoding RNAs in intraerythrocytic Plasmodium falciparum. PLoS ONE, 9(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0092946