Due to the unique selective pressures and extreme changes faced by the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum throughout its life cycle, the parasite has evolved distinct features to alter its gene expression patterns. Along with classical gene regulation by transcription factors (TFs), of which only one family, the AP2 TFs, has been described in the parasite genome, a large body of evidence points toward chromatin structure and epigenetic factors mediating the changes in gene expression associated with parasite life cycle stages.
Malaria parasites are characterized by a complex life cycle that is accompanied by dynamic gene expression patterns. The factors and mechanisms that regulate gene expression in these parasites have been searched for even before the advent of next generation sequencing technologies. Functional genomics approaches have substantially boosted this area of research and have yielded significant insights into the interplay between epigenetic, transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms.