Masters of manipulating their host

This 2020 French review subject was parasitical influences on host epigenetic processes:

“Parasites have become masters of manipulating their host cells, exploiting signaling, and metabolic pathways to hijack host gene expression to their own advantage. These intracellular parasites have developed a wide range of strategies that affect transcriptional machineries and epigenetic events in the host cell nucleus.

Parasite effectors regulate host transcription. Secretion of numerous parasite effector proteins are key processes during parasite infection. Parasite effectors deregulate host expression profile which lead to host cell transformation, or escape from the host immune system to allow parasite persistence and survival.”

The first two of the six strategies discussed are shown above:

  1. “Induction of a host epigenetic enzyme. Parasite infection leads to upregulation of SMYD3, a methyltransferase that activates genes involved in host transformation, through H3K4 trimethylation.
  2. Secreting effector proteins that drive epigenetic repression of host genes. TEEGR activates a host chromatin modifier able to repress transcription of immune system genes through H3K27 trimethylation.” “The clever strategies used by intracellular parasites to hijack host gene expression” (not freely available)

I used a “parasites” paradigm while living in the Washington DC area for three decades to help understand what goes on there. Moved away several years ago, but haven’t changed my thinking that all six of this paper’s parasite strategies had analogous human actions.

Other curated papers that explored the review’s topic include:

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