We have analysed the regulation of histone synthesis in Leishmania infantum following inhibition of DNA replication. Run-on experiments indicated that transcription rates of the genes coding for the four core histones (H2A, H2B, H3 and H4) were not affected by the inhibition with hydroxyurea of DNA synthesis. However, a dramatic decrease was observed in the newly synthesized histones after inhibition of DNA synthesis. Furthermore, the synthesis of both the histones and DNA resumed in promastigotes after removal of hydroxyurea, indicating that inhibition was reversible. Unlike most eukaryotes, in which the replication-dependent histone transcripts decrease upon a replication blockade, the levels of L. infantum histone mRNAs do not change under similar conditions. Thus the present data indicate that histone synthesis in Leishmania is tightly coupled to DNA replication by a mechanism operating at the translational level.

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