Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

College of Arts and Science Honors, Honors College

First Advisor

Karen Glass

Second Advisor

Matthew Liptak


bromodomain, structural biology, biochemistry, malaria


DNA in eukaryotic cells is compressed into chromatin, a tightly wound complex of nucleic acids and protein, and chromatin structure is important in the regulation of gene expression. The nucleosome is the core unit of chromatin, is comprised of a histone octamer wrapped by DNA, and often contains chemical modifications on its histone proteins that signal to turn gene expression on or off. These histone modifications result in altered chromosomal accessibility to RNA polymerase. Bromodomains are evolutionarily conserved readers of a specific type of histone modification when a lysine amino acid is acetylated (Dhalluin, et al., 1999).

The parasite Plasmodium falciparum is the main cause of malaria infections, and undergoes a repeated cycle of replications, egress, and invasion (Kumar, 2019). Plasmodium falciparum bromodomain protein 1 (PfBDP1), binds to chromatin at the transcriptional start site of invasion-related genes and is therefore essential for malarial invasion of red blood cells. (Josling, et al., 2015). Knockdown of PfBDP1 results in down-regulation of invasion related genes and lower levels of parasite invasion, whereas upregulation of PfBDP1 results in higher levels of expression of these same invasion related genes.

Although we know PfBDP1 plays an important role in regulating the invasion process, the molecular interactions driving its activity, the native state of the active protein, and how PfBDP1 is recruited to the chromatin has not been characterized. This thesis aims to characterize the native state of the full-length PfBDP1 protein and determine which acetylated histone ligands are preferred by PfBDP1. Deducing the structural and functional interactions of PfBDP1 with chromatin will open up the possibility for researchers to use PfBDP1 as a drug target for malaria.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Available for download on Saturday, May 02, 2026