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Sample records for apicoplasts

  1. Anti-malarial Drug Design by Targeting Apicoplasts: New Perspectives

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    Avinaba Mukherjee

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Objectives: Malaria has been a major global health problem in recent times with increasing mortality. Current treatment methods include parasiticidal drugs and vaccinations. However, resistance among malarial parasites to the existing drugs has emerged as a significant area of concern in anti-malarial drug design. Researchers are now desperately looking for new targets to develop anti-malarials drug which is more target specific. Malarial parasites harbor a plastid-like organelle known as the ‘apicoplast’, which is thought to provide an exciting new outlook for the development of drugs to be used against the parasite. This review elaborates on the current state of development of novel compounds targeted againstemerging malaria parasites. Methods: The apicoplast, originates by an endosymbiotic process, contains a range of metabolic pathways and housekeeping processes that differ from the host body and thereby presents ideal strategies for anti-malarial drug therapy. Drugs are designed by targeting the unique mechanism of the apicoplasts genetic machinery. Several anabolic and catabolic processes, like fatty acid, isopenetyl diphosphate and heme synthess in this organelle, have also been targeted by drugs. Results: Apicoplasts offer exciting opportunities for the development of malarial treatment specific drugs have been found to act by disrupting this organelle’s function, which wouldimpede the survival of the parasite. Conclusion: Recent advanced drugs, their modes of action, and their advantages in the treatment of malaria by using apicoplasts as a target are discussed in this review which thought to be very useful in desigining anti-malarial drugs. Targetting the genetic machinery of apicoplast shows a great advantange regarding anti-malarial drug design. Critical knowledge of these new drugs would give a healthier understanding for deciphering the mechanism of action of anti-malarial drugs when targeting apicoplasts to overcome drug

  2. Theileria Apicoplast as a Target for Chemotherapy▿ †

    OpenAIRE

    Lizundia, Regina; Werling, Dirk; Langsley, Gordon; Ralph, Stuart A.

    2008-01-01

    Theileria parasites cause severe bovine disease and death in a large part of the world. These apicomplexan parasites possess a relic plastid (apicoplast), whose metabolic pathways include several promising drug targets. Putative inhibitors of these targets were screened, and we identified antiproliferative compounds that merit further characterization.

  3. A Plastid Protein That Evolved from Ubiquitin and Is Required for Apicoplast Protein Import in Toxoplasma gondii

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    Justin D. Fellows

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available Apicomplexan parasites cause a variety of important infectious diseases, including malaria, toxoplasma encephalitis, and severe diarrhea due to Cryptosporidium. Most apicomplexans depend on an organelle called the apicoplast which is derived from a red algal endosymbiont. The apicoplast is essential for the parasite as the compartment of fatty acid, heme, and isoprenoid biosynthesis. The majority of the approximate 500 apicoplast proteins are nucleus encoded and have to be imported across the four membranes that surround the apicoplast. Import across the second outermost membrane of the apicoplast, the periplastid membrane, depends on an apicoplast-specific endoplasmic reticulum-associated protein degradation (ERAD complex and on enzymes of the associated ubiquitination cascade. However, identification of an apicoplast ubiquitin associated with this machinery has long been elusive. Here we identify a plastid ubiquitin-like protein (PUBL, an apicoplast protein that is derived from a ubiquitin ancestor but that has significantly changed in its primary sequence. PUBL is distinct from known ubiquitin-like proteins, and phylogenomic analyses suggest a clade specific to apicomplexans. We demonstrate that PUBL and the AAA ATPase CDC48AP both act to translocate apicoplast proteins across the periplastid membrane during protein import. Conditional null mutants and genetic complementation show that both proteins are critical for this process and for parasite survival. PUBL residues homologous to those that are required for ubiquitin conjugation onto target proteins are essential for this function, while those required for polyubiquitination and preprotein processing are dispensable. Our experiments provide a mechanistic understanding of the molecular machinery that drives protein import across the membranes of the apicoplast.

  4. Identification of vital and dispensable sulfur utilization factors in the Plasmodium apicoplast.

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    Joana M Haussig

    Full Text Available Iron-sulfur [Fe-S] clusters are ubiquitous and critical cofactors in diverse biochemical processes. They are assembled by distinct [Fe-S] cluster biosynthesis pathways, typically in organelles of endosymbiotic origin. Apicomplexan parasites, including Plasmodium, the causative agent of malaria, harbor two separate [Fe-S] cluster biosynthesis pathways in the their mitochondrion and apicoplast. In this study, we systematically targeted the five nuclear-encoded sulfur utilization factors (SUF of the apicoplast [Fe-S] cluster biosynthesis pathway by experimental genetics in the murine malaria model parasite Plasmodium berghei. We show that four SUFs, namely SUFC, D, E, and S are refractory to targeted gene deletion, validating them as potential targets for antimalarial drug development. We achieved targeted deletion of SUFA, which encodes a potential [Fe-S] transfer protein, indicative of a dispensable role during asexual blood stage growth in vivo. Furthermore, no abnormalities were observed during Plasmodium life cycle progression in the insect and mammalian hosts. Fusion of a fluorescent tag to the endogenous P. berghei SUFs demonstrated that all loci were accessible to genetic modification and that all five tagged SUFs localize to the apicoplast. Together, our experimental genetics analysis identifies the key components of the SUF [Fe-S] cluster biosynthesis pathway in the apicoplast of a malarial parasite and shows that absence of SUFC, D, E, or S is incompatible with Plasmodium blood infection in vivo.

  5. Phylogenetic analyses suggest lateral gene transfer from the mitochondrion to the apicoplast

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Oborník, Miroslav; Van de Peer, Y.; Hypša, Václav; Frickey, T.; Šlapeta, Jan Roger; Meyer, A.; Lukeš, Julius

    2002-01-01

    Roč. 285, 1-2 (2002), s. 109-118 ISSN 0378-1119 R&D Projects: GA AV ČR IAB5022904; GA AV ČR IAA6022903 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z6022909 Keywords : apicoplast * mitochondrion * hybrid genome Subject RIV: EB - Genetics ; Molecular Biology Impact factor: 2.778, year: 2002

  6. Evolution of the apicoplast and its hosts: from heterotrophy to autotrophy and back again

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Oborník, Miroslav; Janouškovec, Jan; Chrudimský, Tomáš; Lukeš, Julius

    2009-01-01

    Roč. 39, č. 1 (2009), s. 1-12 ISSN 0020-7519 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA206/06/1439 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60220518 Keywords : Apicoplast * Apicomplexan * evolution * Chromera velia * GAPDH Subject RIV: EB - Genetics ; Molecular Biology Impact factor: 3.819, year: 2009

  7. Apicoplast lipoic acid protein ligase B is not essential for Plasmodium falciparum.

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    Svenja Günther

    2007-12-01

    Full Text Available Lipoic acid (LA is an essential cofactor of alpha-keto acid dehydrogenase complexes (KADHs and the glycine cleavage system. In Plasmodium, LA is attached to the KADHs by organelle-specific lipoylation pathways. Biosynthesis of LA exclusively occurs in the apicoplast, comprising octanoyl-[acyl carrier protein]: protein N-octanoyltransferase (LipB and LA synthase. Salvage of LA is mitochondrial and scavenged LA is ligated to the KADHs by LA protein ligase 1 (LplA1. Both pathways are entirely independent, suggesting that both are likely to be essential for parasite survival. However, disruption of the LipB gene did not negatively affect parasite growth despite a drastic loss of LA (>90%. Surprisingly, the sole, apicoplast-located pyruvate dehydrogenase still showed lipoylation, suggesting that an alternative lipoylation pathway exists in this organelle. We provide evidence that this residual lipoylation is attributable to the dual targeted, functional lipoate protein ligase 2 (LplA2. Localisation studies show that LplA2 is present in both mitochondrion and apicoplast suggesting redundancy between the lipoic acid protein ligases in the erythrocytic stages of P. falciparum.

  8. Molecular phylogeny of Toxoplasmatinae: comparison between inferences based on mitochondrial and apicoplast genetic sequences

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    Michelle Klein Sercundes

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Phylogenies within Toxoplasmatinae have been widely investigated with different molecular markers. Here, we studied molecular phylogenies of the Toxoplasmatinae subfamily based on apicoplast and mitochondrial genes. Partial sequences of apicoplast genes coding for caseinolytic protease (clpC and beta subunit of RNA polymerase (rpoB, and mitochondrial gene coding for cytochrome B (cytB were analyzed. Laboratory-adapted strains of the closely related parasites Sarcocystis falcatula and Sarcocystis neurona were investigated, along with Neospora caninum, Neospora hughesi, Toxoplasma gondii (strains RH, CTG and PTG, Besnoitia akodoni, Hammondia hammondiand two genetically divergent lineages of Hammondia heydorni. The molecular analysis based on organellar genes did not clearly differentiate between N. caninum and N. hughesi, but the two lineages of H. heydorni were confirmed. Slight differences between the strains of S. falcatula and S. neurona were encountered in all markers. In conclusion, congruent phylogenies were inferred from the three different genes and they might be used for screening undescribed sarcocystid parasites in order to ascertain their phylogenetic relationships with organisms of the family Sarcocystidae. The evolutionary studies based on organelar genes confirm that the genusHammondia is paraphyletic. The primers used for amplification of clpC and rpoB were able to amplify genetic sequences of organisms of the genus Sarcocystisand organisms of the subfamily Toxoplasmatinae as well.

  9. Autophagy-related Atg8 localizes to the apicoplast of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

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    Kei Kitamura

    Full Text Available Autophagy is a membrane-mediated degradation process, which is governed by sequential functions of Atg proteins. Although Atg proteins are highly conserved in eukaryotes, protozoa possess only a partial set of Atg proteins. Nonetheless, almost all protozoa have the complete factors belonging to the Atg8 conjugation system, namely, Atg3, Atg4, Atg7, and Atg8. Here, we report the biochemical properties and subcellular localization of the Atg8 protein of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum (PfAtg8. PfAtg8 is expressed during intra-erythrocytic development and associates with membranes likely as a lipid-conjugated form. Fluorescence microscopy and immunoelectron microscopy show that PfAtg8 localizes to the apicoplast, a four membrane-bound non-photosynthetic plastid. Autophagosome-like structures are not observed in the erythrocytic stages. These data suggest that, although Plasmodium parasites have lost most Atg proteins during evolution, they use the Atg8 conjugation system for the unique organelle, the apicoplast.

  10. ApicoAP: the first computational model for identifying apicoplast-targeted proteins in multiple species of Apicomplexa.

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    Gokcen Cilingir

    Full Text Available Most of the parasites of the phylum Apicomplexa contain a relict prokaryotic-derived plastid called the apicoplast. This organelle is important not only for the survival of the parasite, but its unique properties make it an ideal drug target. The majority of apicoplast-associated proteins are nuclear encoded and targeted post-translationally to the organellar lumen via a bipartite signaling mechanism that requires an N-terminal signal and transit peptide (TP. Attempts to define a consensus motif that universally identifies apicoplast TPs have failed.In this study, we propose a generalized rule-based classification model to identify apicoplast-targeted proteins (ApicoTPs that use a bipartite signaling mechanism. Given a training set specific to an organism, this model, called ApicoAP, incorporates a procedure based on a genetic algorithm to tailor a discriminating rule that exploits the known characteristics of ApicoTPs. Performance of ApicoAP is evaluated for four labeled datasets of Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium yoelii, Babesia bovis, and Toxoplasma gondii proteins. ApicoAP improves the classification accuracy of the published dataset for P. falciparum to 94%, originally 90% using PlasmoAP.We present a parametric model for ApicoTPs and a procedure to optimize the model parameters for a given training set. A major asset of this model is that it is customizable to different parasite genomes. The ApicoAP prediction software is available at http://code.google.com/p/apicoap/ and http://bcb.eecs.wsu.edu.

  11. Plasmodium Apicoplast Gln-tRNA Gln Biosynthesis Utilizes a Unique GatAB Amidotransferase Essential for Erythrocytic Stage Parasites

    KAUST Repository

    Mailu, Boniface M.

    2015-08-28

    © 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc. The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum apicoplast indirect aminoacylation pathway utilizes a non-discriminating glutamyl-tRNA synthetase to synthesize Glu-tRNAGln and a glutaminyl-tRNA amidotransferase to convert Glu-tRNAGln to Gln-tRNAGln. Here, we show that Plasmodium falciparum and other apicomplexans possess a unique heterodimeric glutamyltRNA amidotransferase consisting of GatA and GatB subunits (GatAB). We localized the P. falciparum GatA and GatB subunits to the apicoplast in blood stage parasites and demonstrated that recombinant GatAB converts Glu-tRNAGln to Gln-tRNAGln in vitro. We demonstrate that the apicoplast GatAB-catalyzed reaction is essential to the parasite blood stages because we could not delete the Plasmodium berghei gene encoding GatA in blood stage parasites in vivo. A phylogenetic analysis placed the split between Plasmodium GatB, archaeal GatE, and bacterial GatB prior to the phylogenetic divide between bacteria and archaea. Moreover, Plasmodium GatA also appears to have emerged prior to the bacterial-archaeal phylogenetic divide. Thus, although GatAB is found in Plasmodium, it emerged prior to the phylogenetic separation of archaea and bacteria.

  12. Plasmodium Apicoplast Gln-tRNA Gln Biosynthesis Utilizes a Unique GatAB Amidotransferase Essential for Erythrocytic Stage Parasites

    KAUST Repository

    Mailu, Boniface M.; Li, Ling; Arthur, Jen; Nelson, Todd M.; Ramasamy, Gowthaman; Fritz-Wolf, Karin; Becker, Katja; Gardner, Malcolm J.

    2015-01-01

    © 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc. The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum apicoplast indirect aminoacylation pathway utilizes a non-discriminating glutamyl-tRNA synthetase to synthesize Glu-tRNAGln and a glutaminyl-tRNA amidotransferase to convert Glu-tRNAGln to Gln-tRNAGln. Here, we show that Plasmodium falciparum and other apicomplexans possess a unique heterodimeric glutamyltRNA amidotransferase consisting of GatA and GatB subunits (GatAB). We localized the P. falciparum GatA and GatB subunits to the apicoplast in blood stage parasites and demonstrated that recombinant GatAB converts Glu-tRNAGln to Gln-tRNAGln in vitro. We demonstrate that the apicoplast GatAB-catalyzed reaction is essential to the parasite blood stages because we could not delete the Plasmodium berghei gene encoding GatA in blood stage parasites in vivo. A phylogenetic analysis placed the split between Plasmodium GatB, archaeal GatE, and bacterial GatB prior to the phylogenetic divide between bacteria and archaea. Moreover, Plasmodium GatA also appears to have emerged prior to the bacterial-archaeal phylogenetic divide. Thus, although GatAB is found in Plasmodium, it emerged prior to the phylogenetic separation of archaea and bacteria.

  13. In vitro efficacy, resistance selection, and structural modeling studies implicate the malarial parasite apicoplast as the target of azithromycin.

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    Sidhu, Amar Bir Singh; Sun, Qingan; Nkrumah, Louis J; Dunne, Michael W; Sacchettini, James C; Fidock, David A

    2007-01-26

    Azithromycin (AZ), a broad-spectrum antibacterial macrolide that inhibits protein synthesis, also manifests reasonable efficacy as an antimalarial. Its mode of action against malarial parasites, however, has remained undefined. Our in vitro investigations with the human malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum document a remarkable increase in AZ potency when exposure is prolonged from one to two generations of intraerythrocytic growth, with AZ producing 50% inhibition of parasite growth at concentrations in the mid to low nanomolar range. In our culture-adapted lines, AZ displayed no synergy with chloroquine (CQ), amodiaquine, or artesunate. AZ activity was also unaffected by mutations in the pfcrt (P. falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter) or pfmdr1 (P. falciparum multidrug resistance-1) drug resistance loci, as determined using transgenic lines. We have selected mutant, AZ-resistant 7G8 and Dd2 parasite lines. In the AZ-resistant 7G8 line, the bacterial-like apicoplast large subunit ribosomal RNA harbored a U438C mutation in domain I. Both AZ-resistant lines revealed a G76V mutation in a conserved region of the apicoplast-encoded P. falciparum ribosomal protein L4 (PfRpl4). This protein is predicted to associate with the nuclear genome-encoded P. falciparum ribosomal protein L22 (PfRpl22) and the large subunit rRNA to form the 50 S ribosome polypeptide exit tunnel that can be occupied by AZ. The PfRpl22 sequence remained unchanged. Molecular modeling of mutant PfRpl4 with AZ suggests an altered orientation of the L75 side chain that could preclude AZ binding. These data imply that AZ acts on the apicoplast bacterial-like translation machinery and identify Pfrpl4 as a potential marker of resistance.

  14. The apicoplast genomes of two taxonomic units of Babesia from sheep.

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    Wang, Tao; Guan, Guiquan; Korhonen, Pasi K; Koehler, Anson V; Hall, Ross S; Young, Neil D; Yin, Hong; Gasser, Robin B

    2017-01-15

    The apicoplast (ap) is a unique, non-photosynthetic organelle found in most apicomplexan parasites. Due to the essential roles that this organelle has, it has been widely considered as target for drugs against diseases caused by apicomplexans. Exploring the ap genomes of such parasites would provide a better understanding of their systematics and their basic molecular biology for therapeutics. However, there is limited information available on the ap genomes of apicomplexan parasites. In the present study, the ap genomes of two operational taxonomic units of Babesia (known as Babesia sp. Lintan [Bl] and Babesia sp. Xinjiang [Bx]) from sheep were sequenced, assembled and annotated using a massive parallel sequencing-based approach. Then, the gene content and gene order in these ap genomes (∼30.7kb in size) were defined and compared, and the genetic differences were assessed. In addition, a phylogenetic analysis of ap genomic data sets was carried out to assess the relationships of these taxonomic units with other apicomplexan parasites for which complete ap genomic data sets were publicly available. The results showed that the ap genomes of Bl and Bx encode 59 and 57 genes, respectively, including 2 ribosomal RNA genes, 25 transfer RNA genes and 30-32 protein-encoding genes, being similar in content to those of Babesia bovis and B. orientalis. Ap gene regions that might serve as markers for future epidemiological and population genetic studies of Babesia species were identified. Using sequence data for a subset of six protein-encoding genes, a close relationship of Bl and Bx with Babesia bovis from cattle and B. orientalis from water buffalo was inferred. Although the focus of the present study was on Babesia, we propose that the present sequencing-bioinformatic approach should be applicable to organellar genomes of a wide range of apicomplexans of veterinary importance. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. Diagnostic performance of a novel loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay targeting the apicoplast genome for malaria diagnosis in a field setting in sub-Saharan Africa.

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    Oriero, Eniyou C; Okebe, Joseph; Jacobs, Jan; Van Geertruyden, Jean-Pierre; Nwakanma, Davis; D'Alessandro, Umberto

    2015-10-09

    New diagnostic tools to detect reliably and rapidly asymptomatic and low-density malaria infections are needed as their treatment could interrupt transmission. Isothermal amplification techniques are being explored for field diagnosis of malaria. In this study, a novel molecular tool (loop-mediated isothermal amplification-LAMP) targeting the apicoplast genome of Plasmodium falciparum was evaluated for the detection of asymptomatic malaria-infected individuals in a rural setting in The Gambia. A blood was collected from 341 subjects (median age 9 years, range 1-68 years) screened for malaria. On site, a rapid diagnostic test (RDT, SD Bioline Malaria Antigen P.f) was performed, thick blood films (TBF) slides for microscopy were prepared and dry blood spots (DBS) were collected on Whatman(®) 903 Specimen collection paper. The TBF and DBS were transported to the field laboratory where microscopy and LAMP testing were performed. The latter was done on DNA extracted from the DBS using a crude (methanol/heating) extraction method. A laboratory-based PCR amplification was done on all the samples using DNA extracted with the Qiagen kit and its results were taken as reference for all the other tests. Plasmodium falciparum malaria prevalence was 37 % (127/341) as detected by LAMP, 30 % (104/341) by microscopy and 37 % (126/341) by RDT. Compared to the reference PCR method, sensitivity was 92 % for LAMP, 78 % for microscopy, and 76 % for RDT; specificity was 97 % for LAMP, 99 % for microscopy, and 88 % for RDT. Area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve in comparison with the reference standard was 0.94 for LAMP, 0.88 for microscopy and 0.81 for RDT. Turn-around time for the entire LAMP assay was approximately 3 h and 30 min for an average of 27 ± 9.5 samples collected per day, compared to a minimum of 10 samples an hour per operator by RDT and over 8 h by microscopy. The LAMP assay could produce reliable results the same day of the screening. It could

  16. Identification of vital and dispensable sulfur utilization factors in the Plasmodium apicoplast

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Haussig, J.M.; Matuschewski, K.; Kooij, T.W.A.

    2014-01-01

    Iron-sulfur [Fe-S] clusters are ubiquitous and critical cofactors in diverse biochemical processes. They are assembled by distinct [Fe-S] cluster biosynthesis pathways, typically in organelles of endosymbiotic origin. Apicomplexan parasites, including Plasmodium, the causative agent of malaria,

  17. PfClpC Is an Essential Clp Chaperone Required for Plastid Integrity and Clp Protease Stability in Plasmodium falciparum

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    Anat Florentin

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Summary: The deadly malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum contains a nonphotosynthetic plastid, known as the apicoplast, that functions to produce essential metabolites, and drugs that target the apicoplast are clinically effective. Several prokaryotic caseinolytic protease (Clp genes have been identified in the Plasmodium genome. Using phylogenetic analysis, we focused on the Clp members that may form a regulated proteolytic complex in the apicoplast. We genetically targeted members of this complex and generated conditional mutants of the apicoplast-localized PfClpC chaperone and PfClpP protease. Conditional inhibition of the PfClpC chaperone resulted in growth arrest and apicoplast loss and was rescued by addition of the essential apicoplast-derived metabolite IPP. Using a double-conditional mutant parasite line, we discovered that the chaperone activity is required to stabilize the mature protease, revealing functional interactions. These data demonstrate the essential function of PfClpC in maintaining apicoplast integrity and its role in regulating the proteolytic activity of the Clp complex. : Plasmodium falciparum contains a unique organelle, the apicoplast. Using genetic and phenotypic assays, Florentin et al. characterize the apicoplast Clp chaperone and protease. They find that the chaperone is essential for protease stability and that together they function to maintain organelle integrity and segregation into daughter cells. Keywords: malaria, Plasmodium, apicoplast, IPP, Clp, chaperone, caseinolytic protease

  18. Ciprofloxacin Derivatives Affect Parasite Cell Division and Increase the Survival of Mice Infected with Toxoplasma gondii.

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    Erica S Martins-Duarte

    Full Text Available Toxoplasmosis, caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii, is a worldwide disease whose clinical manifestations include encephalitis and congenital malformations in newborns. Previously, we described the synthesis of new ethyl-ester derivatives of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin with ~40-fold increased activity against T. gondii in vitro, compared with the original compound. Cipro derivatives are expected to target the parasite's DNA gyrase complex in the apicoplast. The activity of these compounds in vivo, as well as their mode of action, remained thus far uncharacterized. Here, we examined the activity of the Cipro derivatives in vivo, in a model of acute murine toxoplasmosis. In addition, we investigated the cellular effects T. gondii tachyzoites in vitro, by immunofluorescence and transmission electron microscopy (TEM. When compared with Cipro treatment, 7-day treatments with Cipro derivatives increased mouse survival significantly, with 13-25% of mice surviving for up to 60 days post-infection (vs. complete lethality 10 days post-infection, with Cipro treatment. Light microscopy examination early (6 and 24h post-infection revealed that 6-h treatments with Cipro derivatives inhibited the initial event of parasite cell division inside host cells, in an irreversible manner. By TEM and immunofluorescence, the main cellular effects observed after treatment with Cipro derivatives and Cipro were cell scission inhibition--with the appearance of 'tethered' parasites--malformation of the inner membrane complex, and apicoplast enlargement and missegregation. Interestingly, tethered daughter cells resulting from Cipro derivatives, and also Cipro, treatment did not show MORN1 cap or centrocone localization. The biological activity of Cipro derivatives against C. parvum, an apicomplexan species that lacks the apicoplast, is, approximately, 50 fold lower than that in T. gondii tachyzoites, supporting that these compounds targets the apicoplast. Our results

  19. Characterization of the autophagy marker protein Atg8 reveals atypical features of autophagy in Plasmodium falciparum.

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    Rahul Navale

    Full Text Available Conventional autophagy is a lysosome-dependent degradation process that has crucial homeostatic and regulatory functions in eukaryotic organisms. As malaria parasites must dispose a number of self and host cellular contents, we investigated if autophagy in malaria parasites is similar to the conventional autophagy. Genome wide analysis revealed a partial autophagy repertoire in Plasmodium, as homologs for only 15 of the 33 yeast autophagy proteins could be identified, including the autophagy marker Atg8. To gain insights into autophagy in malaria parasites, we investigated Plasmodium falciparum Atg8 (PfAtg8 employing techniques and conditions that are routinely used to study autophagy. Atg8 was similarly expressed and showed punctate localization throughout the parasite in both asexual and sexual stages; it was exclusively found in the pellet fraction as an integral membrane protein, which is in contrast to the yeast or mammalian Atg8 that is distributed among cytosolic and membrane fractions, and suggests for a constitutive autophagy. Starvation, the best known autophagy inducer, decreased PfAtg8 level by almost 3-fold compared to the normally growing parasites. Neither the Atg8-associated puncta nor the Atg8 expression level was significantly altered by treatment of parasites with routinely used autophagy inhibitors (cysteine (E64 and aspartic (pepstatin protease inhibitors, the kinase inhibitor 3-methyladenine, and the lysosomotropic agent chloroquine, indicating an atypical feature of autophagy. Furthermore, prolonged inhibition of the major food vacuole protease activity by E64 and pepstatin did not cause accumulation of the Atg8-associated puncta in the food vacuole, suggesting that autophagy is primarily not meant for degradative function in malaria parasites. Atg8 showed partial colocalization with the apicoplast; doxycycline treatment, which disrupts apicoplast, did not affect Atg8 localization, suggesting a role, but not exclusive, in

  20. Editorial

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    Unnasch T

    2011-05-01

    Full Text Available Thomas UnnaschDepartment of Global Health, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USAPeople living in tropical regions account for a large percentage of the world’s population, and residents of the tropics face many challenges to their health. Populations living in tropical regions must deal with most of the same diseases that confront people inhabiting temperate regions, but face many other health problems as well. For example, it is estimated that the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs, including the parasitic helminths and apicoplast parasites, afflict roughly 40% of the world’s population, almost all of whom reside in tropical climates.

  1. Dynamic subcellular localization of isoforms of the folate pathway enzyme serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT through the erythrocytic cycle of Plasmodium falciparum

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    Mitchell Sarah L

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The folate pathway enzyme serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT converts serine to glycine and 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate and is essential for the acquisition of one-carbon units for subsequent transfer reactions. 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate is used by thymidylate synthase to convert dUMP to dTMP for DNA synthesis. In Plasmodium falciparum an enzymatically functional SHMT (PfSHMTc and a related, apparently inactive isoform (PfSHMTm are found, encoded by different genes. Here, patterns of localization of the two isoforms during the parasite erythrocytic cycle are investigated. Methods Polyclonal antibodies were raised to PfSHMTc and PfSHMTm, and, together with specific markers for the mitochondrion and apicoplast, were employed in quantitative confocal fluorescence microscopy of blood-stage parasites. Results As well as the expected cytoplasmic occupancy of PfSHMTc during all stages, localization into the mitochondrion and apicoplast occurred in a stage-specific manner. Although early trophozoites lacked visible organellar PfSHMTc, a significant percentage of parasites showed such fluorescence during the mid-to-late trophozoite and schizont stages. In the case of the mitochondrion, the majority of parasites in these stages at any given time showed no marked PfSHMTc fluorescence, suggesting that its occupancy of this organelle is of limited duration. PfSHMTm showed a distinctly more pronounced mitochondrial location through most of the erythrocytic cycle and GFP-tagging of its N-terminal region confirmed the predicted presence of a mitochondrial signal sequence. Within the apicoplast, a majority of mitotic schizonts showed a marked concentration of PfSHMTc, whose localization in this organelle was less restricted than for the mitochondrion and persisted from the late trophozoite to the post-mitotic stages. PfSHMTm showed a broadly similar distribution across the cycle, but with a distinctive punctate accumulation towards

  2. The Clp Chaperones and Proteases of the Human Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bakkouri, Majida El; Pow, Andre; Mulichak, Anne; Cheung, Kevin L.Y.; Artz, Jennifer D.; Amani, Mehrnaz; Fell, Stuart; de Koning-Ward, Tania F.; Goodman, C. Dean; McFadden, Geoffrey I.; Ortega, Joaquin; Hui, Raymond; Houry, Walid A. (McMaster U.); (Melbourne); (Toronto); (Deakin); (HWMRI)

    2015-02-09

    The Clp chaperones and proteases play an important role in protein homeostasis in the cell. They are highly conserved across prokaryotes and found also in the mitochondria of eukaryotes and the chloroplasts of plants. They function mainly in the disaggregation, unfolding and degradation of native as well as misfolded proteins. Here, we provide a comprehensive analysis of the Clp chaperones and proteases in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. The parasite contains four Clp ATPases, which we term PfClpB1, PfClpB2, PfClpC and PfClpM. One PfClpP, the proteolytic subunit, and one PfClpR, which is an inactive version of the protease, were also identified. Expression of all Clp chaperones and proteases was confirmed in blood-stage parasites. The proteins were localized to the apicoplast, a non-photosynthetic organelle that accommodates several important metabolic pathways in P. falciparum, with the exception of PfClpB2 (also known as Hsp101), which was found in the parasitophorous vacuole. Both PfClpP and PfClpR form mostly homoheptameric rings as observed by size-exclusion chromatography, analytical ultracentrifugation and electron microscopy. The X-ray structure of PfClpP showed the protein as a compacted tetradecamer similar to that observed for Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycobacterium tuberculosis ClpPs. Our data suggest the presence of a ClpCRP complex in the apicoplast of P. falciparum.

  3. Endosymbiosis undone by stepwise elimination of the plastid in a parasitic dinoflagellate

    KAUST Repository

    Gornik, Sebastian G.; Febrimarsa,; Cassin, Andrew M.; MacRae, James I.; Ramaprasad, Abhinay; Rchiad, ‍ Zineb; McConville, Malcolm J.; Bacic, Antony; McFadden, Geoffrey I.; Pain, Arnab; Waller, Ross F.

    2015-01-01

    Organelle gain through endosymbiosis has been integral to the origin and diversification of eukaryotes, and, once gained, plastids and mitochondria seem seldom lost. Indeed, discovery of nonphotosynthetic plastids in many eukaryotes - notably, the apicoplast in apicomplexan parasites such as the malaria pathogen Plasmodium - highlights the essential metabolic functions performed by plastids beyond photosynthesis. Once a cell becomes reliant on these ancillary functions, organelle dependence is apparently difficult to overcome. Previous examples of endosymbiotic organelle loss (either mitochondria or plastids), which have been invoked to explain the origin of eukaryotic diversity, have subsequently been recognized as organelle reduction to cryptic forms, such as mitosomes and apicoplasts. Integration of these ancient symbionts with their hosts has been too well developed to reverse. Here, we provide evidence that the dinoflagellate Hematodinium sp., a marine parasite of crustaceans, represents a rare case of endosymbiotic organelle loss by the elimination of the plastid. Extensive RNA and genomic sequencing data provide no evidence for a plastid organelle, but, rather, reveal a metabolic decoupling from known plastid functions that typically impede organelle loss. This independence has been achieved through retention of ancestral anabolic pathways, enzyme relocation from the plastid to the cytosol, and metabolic scavenging from the parasite's host. Hematodinium sp. thus represents a further dimension of endosymbiosis-life after the organelle. © 2015, National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

  4. Endosymbiosis undone by stepwise elimination of the plastid in a parasitic dinoflagellate

    KAUST Repository

    Gornik, Sebastian G.

    2015-04-20

    Organelle gain through endosymbiosis has been integral to the origin and diversification of eukaryotes, and, once gained, plastids and mitochondria seem seldom lost. Indeed, discovery of nonphotosynthetic plastids in many eukaryotes - notably, the apicoplast in apicomplexan parasites such as the malaria pathogen Plasmodium - highlights the essential metabolic functions performed by plastids beyond photosynthesis. Once a cell becomes reliant on these ancillary functions, organelle dependence is apparently difficult to overcome. Previous examples of endosymbiotic organelle loss (either mitochondria or plastids), which have been invoked to explain the origin of eukaryotic diversity, have subsequently been recognized as organelle reduction to cryptic forms, such as mitosomes and apicoplasts. Integration of these ancient symbionts with their hosts has been too well developed to reverse. Here, we provide evidence that the dinoflagellate Hematodinium sp., a marine parasite of crustaceans, represents a rare case of endosymbiotic organelle loss by the elimination of the plastid. Extensive RNA and genomic sequencing data provide no evidence for a plastid organelle, but, rather, reveal a metabolic decoupling from known plastid functions that typically impede organelle loss. This independence has been achieved through retention of ancestral anabolic pathways, enzyme relocation from the plastid to the cytosol, and metabolic scavenging from the parasite\\'s host. Hematodinium sp. thus represents a further dimension of endosymbiosis-life after the organelle. © 2015, National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

  5. A survey of synthetic and natural phytotoxic compounds and phytoalexins as potential antimalarial compounds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bajsa, Joanna; Singh, Kshipra; Nanayakkara, Dhammika; Duke, Stephen Oscar; Rimando, Agnes Mamaril; Evidente, Antonio; Tekwani, Babu Lal

    2007-09-01

    The apicomplexan parasites pathogens such as Plasmodium spp. possess an apicoplast, a plastid organelle similar to those of plants. The apicoplast has some essential plant-like metabolic pathways and processes, making these parasites susceptible to inhibitors of these functions. The main objective of this paper is to determine if phytotoxins with plastid target sites are more likely to be good antiplasmodial compounds than are those with other modes of action. The antiplasmodial activities of some compounds with established phytotoxic action were determined in vitro on a chloroquine (CQ) sensitive (D6, Sierra Leone) strain of Plasmodium falciparum. In this study, we provide in vitro activities of almost 50 such compounds, as well as a few phytoalexins against P. falciparum. Endothall, anisomycin, and cerulenin had sufficient antiplasmodial action to be considered as new lead antimalarial structures. Some derivatives of fusicoccin possessed markedly improved antiplasmodial action than the parent compound. Our results suggest that phytotoxins with plastid targets may not necessarily be better antiplasmodials than those that act at other molecular sites. The herbicides, phytotoxins and the phytoalexins reported here with significant antiplasmodial activity may be useful probes for identification of new antimalarial drug targets and may also be used as new lead structures for new antiplasmodial drug discovery.

  6. Plasmodium falciparum mitochondria import tRNAs along with an active phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharma, Arvind; Sharma, Amit

    2015-02-01

    The Plasmodium falciparum protein translation enzymes aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) are an emergent family of drug targets. The aaRS ensemble catalyses transfer of amino acids to cognate tRNAs, thus providing charged tRNAs for ribosomal consumption. P. falciparum proteome expression relies on a total of 36 aaRSs for the three translationally independent compartments of cytoplasm, apicoplast and mitochondria. In the present study, we show that, of this set of 36, a single genomic copy of mitochondrial phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase (mFRS) is targeted to the parasite mitochondria, and that the mFRS gene is exclusive to malaria parasites within the apicomplexan phyla. Our protein cellular localization studies based on immunofluorescence data show that, along with mFRS, P. falciparum harbours two more phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase (FRS) assemblies that are localized to its apicoplast and cytoplasm. The 'extra' mFRS is found in mitochondria of all asexual blood stage parasites and is competent in aminoacylation. We show further that the parasite mitochondria import tRNAs from the cytoplasmic tRNA pool. Hence drug targeting of FRSs presents a unique opportunity to potentially stall protein production in all three parasite translational compartments.

  7. A barcode of organellar genome polymorphisms identifies the geographic origin of Plasmodium falciparum strains

    KAUST Repository

    Preston, Mark D.; Campino, Susana; Assefa, Samuel A.; Echeverry, Diego F.; Ocholla, Harold; Amambua-Ngwa, Alfred; Stewart, Lindsay B.; Conway, David J.; Borrmann, Steffen; Michon, Pascal; Zongo, Issaka; Oué draogo, Jean-Bosco; Djimde, Abdoulaye A.; Doumbo, Ogobara K.; Nosten, Francois; Pain, Arnab; Bousema, Teun; Drakeley, Chris J.; Fairhurst, Rick M.; Sutherland, Colin J.; Roper, Cally; Clark, Taane G.

    2014-01-01

    Malaria is a major public health problem that is actively being addressed in a global eradication campaign. Increased population mobility through international air travel has elevated the risk of re-introducing parasites to elimination areas and dispersing drug-resistant parasites to new regions. A simple genetic marker that quickly and accurately identifies the geographic origin of infections would be a valuable public health tool for locating the source of imported outbreaks. Here we analyse the mitochondrion and apicoplast genomes of 711 Plasmodium falciparum isolates from 14 countries, and find evidence that they are non-recombining and co-inherited. The high degree of linkage produces a panel of relatively few single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that is geographically informative. We design a 23-SNP barcode that is highly predictive (?92%) and easily adapted to aid case management in the field and survey parasite migration worldwide. 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

  8. A barcode of organellar genome polymorphisms identifies the geographic origin of Plasmodium falciparum strains

    KAUST Repository

    Preston, Mark D.

    2014-06-13

    Malaria is a major public health problem that is actively being addressed in a global eradication campaign. Increased population mobility through international air travel has elevated the risk of re-introducing parasites to elimination areas and dispersing drug-resistant parasites to new regions. A simple genetic marker that quickly and accurately identifies the geographic origin of infections would be a valuable public health tool for locating the source of imported outbreaks. Here we analyse the mitochondrion and apicoplast genomes of 711 Plasmodium falciparum isolates from 14 countries, and find evidence that they are non-recombining and co-inherited. The high degree of linkage produces a panel of relatively few single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that is geographically informative. We design a 23-SNP barcode that is highly predictive (?92%) and easily adapted to aid case management in the field and survey parasite migration worldwide. 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

  9. Localisation of gluconeogenesis and tricarboxylic acid (TCA)-cycle enzymes and first functional analysis of the TCA cycle in Toxoplasma gondii.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fleige, Tobias; Pfaff, Nils; Gross, Uwe; Bohne, Wolfgang

    2008-08-01

    The apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii displays some unusual localisations of carbohydrate converting enzymes, which is due to the presence of a vestigial, non-photosynthetic plastid, referred to as the apicoplast. It was recently demonstrated that the single pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDH) in T. gondii is exclusively localised inside the apicoplast but absent in the mitochondrion. This raises the question about expression, localisation and function of enzymes for the tricarboxylic acid (TCA)-cycle, which normally depends on PDH generated acetyl-CoA. Based on the expression and localisation of epitope-tagged fusion proteins, we show that all analysed TCA cycle enzymes are localised in the mitochondrion, including both isoforms of malate dehydrogenase. The absence of a cytosolic malate dehydrogenase suggests that a typical malate-aspartate shuttle for transfer of reduction equivalents is missing in T. gondii. We also localised various enzymes which catalyse the irreversible steps in gluconeogenesis to a cellular compartment and examined mRNA expression levels for gluconeogenesis and TCA cycle genes between tachyzoites and in vitro bradyzoites. In order to get functional information on the TCA cycle for the parasite energy metabolism, we created a conditional knock-out mutant for the succinyl-CoA synthetase. Disruption of the sixth step in the TCA cycle should leave the biosynthetic parts of the cycle intact, but prevent FADH2 production. The succinyl-CoA synthetase depletion mutant displayed a 30% reduction in growth rate, which could be restored by supplementation with 2 microM succinate in the tissue culture medium. The mitochondrial membrane potential in these parasites was found to be unaltered. The lack of a more severe phenotype suggests that a functional TCA cycle is not essential for T. gondii replication and for maintenance of the mitochondrial membrane potential.

  10. The cytosolic glyoxalases of Plasmodium falciparum are dispensable during asexual blood-stage development

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cletus A. Wezena

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available The enzymes glyoxalase 1 and 2 (Glo1 and Glo2 are found in most eukaryotes and catalyze the glutathione-dependent conversion of 2-oxoaldehydes to 2-hydroxycarboxylic acids. Four glyoxalases are encoded in the genome of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, the cytosolic enzymes PfGlo1 and PfcGlo2, the apicoplast enzyme PftGlo2, and an inactive Glo1-like protein that also carries an apicoplast-targeting sequence. Inhibition or knockout of the Plasmodium glyoxalases was hypothesized to lead to an accumulation of 2-oxoaldehydes and advanced glycation end-products (AGE in the host-parasite unit and to result in parasite death. Here, we generated clonal P. falciparum strain 3D7 knockout lines for PFGLO1 and PFcGLO2 using the CRISPR-Cas9 system. Although 3D7Δglo1 knockout clones had an increased susceptibility to external glyoxal, all 3D7Δglo1 and 3D7Δcglo2 knockout lines were viable and showed no significant growth phenotype under standard growth conditions. Furthermore, the lack of PfcGlo2, but not PfGlo1, increased gametocyte commitment in the knockout lines. In summary, PfGlo1 and PfcGlo2 are dispensable during asexual blood-stage development while the loss of PfcGlo2 may induce the formation of transmissible gametocytes. These combined data show that PfGlo1 and PfcGlo2 are most likely not suited as targets for selective drug development.

  11. Wherever I may roam: protein and membrane trafficking in P. falciparum-infected red blood cells.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deponte, Marcel; Hoppe, Heinrich C; Lee, Marcus C S; Maier, Alexander G; Richard, Dave; Rug, Melanie; Spielmann, Tobias; Przyborski, Jude M

    2012-12-01

    Quite aside from its immense importance as a human pathogen, studies in recent years have brought to light the fact that the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is an interesting eukaryotic model system to study protein trafficking. Studying parasite cell biology often reveals an overrepresentation of atypical cell biological features, possibly driven by the parasites' need to survive in an unusual biological niche. Malaria parasites possess uncommon cellular compartments to which protein traffic must be directed, including secretory organelles such as rhoptries and micronemes, a lysosome-like compartment referred to as the digestive vacuole and a complex (four membrane-bound) plastid, the apicoplast. In addition, the parasite must provide proteins to extracellular compartments and structures including the parasitophorous vacuole, the parasitophorous vacuolar membrane, the Maurer's clefts and both cytosol and plasma membrane of the host cell, the mature human red blood cell. Although some of these unusual destinations are possessed by other cell types, only Plasmodium parasites contain them all within one cell. Here we review what is known about protein and membrane transport in the P. falciparum-infected cell, highlighting novel features of these processes. A growing body of evidence suggests that this parasite is a real "box of tricks" with regards to protein traffic. Possibly, these tricks may be turned against the parasite by exploiting them as novel therapeutic targets. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. Compartmentation of redox metabolism in malaria parasites.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sebastian Kehr

    Full Text Available Malaria, caused by the apicomplexan parasite Plasmodium, still represents a major threat to human health and welfare and leads to about one million human deaths annually. Plasmodium is a rapidly multiplying unicellular organism undergoing a complex developmental cycle in man and mosquito - a life style that requires rapid adaptation to various environments. In order to deal with high fluxes of reactive oxygen species and maintain redox regulatory processes and pathogenicity, Plasmodium depends upon an adequate redox balance. By systematically studying the subcellular localization of the major antioxidant and redox regulatory proteins, we obtained the first complete map of redox compartmentation in Plasmodium falciparum. We demonstrate the targeting of two plasmodial peroxiredoxins and a putative glyoxalase system to the apicoplast, a non-photosynthetic plastid. We furthermore obtained a complete picture of the compartmentation of thioredoxin- and glutaredoxin-like proteins. Notably, for the two major antioxidant redox-enzymes--glutathione reductase and thioredoxin reductase--Plasmodium makes use of alternative-translation-initiation (ATI to achieve differential targeting. Dual localization of proteins effected by ATI is likely to occur also in other Apicomplexa and might open new avenues for therapeutic intervention.

  13. Widespread occurrence of organelle genome-encoded 5S rRNAs including permuted molecules.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Valach, Matus; Burger, Gertraud; Gray, Michael W; Lang, B Franz

    2014-12-16

    5S Ribosomal RNA (5S rRNA) is a universal component of ribosomes, and the corresponding gene is easily identified in archaeal, bacterial and nuclear genome sequences. However, organelle gene homologs (rrn5) appear to be absent from most mitochondrial and several chloroplast genomes. Here, we re-examine the distribution of organelle rrn5 by building mitochondrion- and plastid-specific covariance models (CMs) with which we screened organelle genome sequences. We not only recover all organelle rrn5 genes annotated in GenBank records, but also identify more than 50 previously unrecognized homologs in mitochondrial genomes of various stramenopiles, red algae, cryptomonads, malawimonads and apusozoans, and surprisingly, in the apicoplast (highly derived plastid) genomes of the coccidian pathogens Toxoplasma gondii and Eimeria tenella. Comparative modeling of RNA secondary structure reveals that mitochondrial 5S rRNAs from brown algae adopt a permuted triskelion shape that has not been seen elsewhere. Expression of the newly predicted rrn5 genes is confirmed experimentally in 10 instances, based on our own and published RNA-Seq data. This study establishes that particularly mitochondrial 5S rRNA has a much broader taxonomic distribution and a much larger structural variability than previously thought. The newly developed CMs will be made available via the Rfam database and the MFannot organelle genome annotator. © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

  14. Origin of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in gorillas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Weimin; Li, Yingying; Learn, Gerald H; Rudicell, Rebecca S; Robertson, Joel D; Keele, Brandon F; Ndjango, Jean-Bosco N; Sanz, Crickette M; Morgan, David B; Locatelli, Sabrina; Gonder, Mary K; Kranzusch, Philip J; Walsh, Peter D; Delaporte, Eric; Mpoudi-Ngole, Eitel; Georgiev, Alexander V; Muller, Martin N; Shaw, George M; Peeters, Martine; Sharp, Paul M; Rayner, Julian C; Hahn, Beatrice H

    2010-09-23

    Plasmodium falciparum is the most prevalent and lethal of the malaria parasites infecting humans, yet the origin and evolutionary history of this important pathogen remain controversial. Here we develop a single-genome amplification strategy to identify and characterize Plasmodium spp. DNA sequences in faecal samples from wild-living apes. Among nearly 3,000 specimens collected from field sites throughout central Africa, we found Plasmodium infection in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and western gorillas (Gorilla gorilla), but not in eastern gorillas (Gorilla beringei) or bonobos (Pan paniscus). Ape plasmodial infections were highly prevalent, widely distributed and almost always made up of mixed parasite species. Analysis of more than 1,100 mitochondrial, apicoplast and nuclear gene sequences from chimpanzees and gorillas revealed that 99% grouped within one of six host-specific lineages representing distinct Plasmodium species within the subgenus Laverania. One of these from western gorillas comprised parasites that were nearly identical to P. falciparum. In phylogenetic analyses of full-length mitochondrial sequences, human P. falciparum formed a monophyletic lineage within the gorilla parasite radiation. These findings indicate that P. falciparum is of gorilla origin and not of chimpanzee, bonobo or ancient human origin.

  15. Genetic architecture of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miotto, Olivo; Amato, Roberto; Ashley, Elizabeth A; MacInnis, Bronwyn; Almagro-Garcia, Jacob; Amaratunga, Chanaki; Lim, Pharath; Mead, Daniel; Oyola, Samuel O; Dhorda, Mehul; Imwong, Mallika; Woodrow, Charles; Manske, Magnus; Stalker, Jim; Drury, Eleanor; Campino, Susana; Amenga-Etego, Lucas; Thanh, Thuy-Nhien Nguyen; Tran, Hien Tinh; Ringwald, Pascal; Bethell, Delia; Nosten, Francois; Phyo, Aung Pyae; Pukrittayakamee, Sasithon; Chotivanich, Kesinee; Chuor, Char Meng; Nguon, Chea; Suon, Seila; Sreng, Sokunthea; Newton, Paul N; Mayxay, Mayfong; Khanthavong, Maniphone; Hongvanthong, Bouasy; Htut, Ye; Han, Kay Thwe; Kyaw, Myat Phone; Faiz, Md Abul; Fanello, Caterina I; Onyamboko, Marie; Mokuolu, Olugbenga A; Jacob, Christopher G; Takala-Harrison, Shannon; Plowe, Christopher V; Day, Nicholas P; Dondorp, Arjen M; Spencer, Chris C A; McVean, Gilean; Fairhurst, Rick M; White, Nicholas J; Kwiatkowski, Dominic P

    2015-01-01

    We report a large multicenter genome-wide association study of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinin, the frontline antimalarial drug. Across 15 locations in Southeast Asia, we identified at least 20 mutations in kelch13 (PF3D7_1343700) affecting the encoded propeller and BTB/POZ domains, which were associated with a slow parasite clearance rate after treatment with artemisinin derivatives. Nonsynonymous polymorphisms in fd (ferredoxin), arps10 (apicoplast ribosomal protein S10), mdr2 (multidrug resistance protein 2) and crt (chloroquine resistance transporter) also showed strong associations with artemisinin resistance. Analysis of the fine structure of the parasite population showed that the fd, arps10, mdr2 and crt polymorphisms are markers of a genetic background on which kelch13 mutations are particularly likely to arise and that they correlate with the contemporary geographical boundaries and population frequencies of artemisinin resistance. These findings indicate that the risk of new resistance-causing mutations emerging is determined by specific predisposing genetic factors in the underlying parasite population. PMID:25599401

  16. Phylogenetic analysis of the light-harvesting system in Chromera velia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pan, Hao; Slapeta, Jan; Carter, Dee; Chen, Min

    2012-03-01

    Chromera velia is a newly discovered photosynthetic eukaryotic alga that has functional chloroplasts closely related to the apicoplast of apicomplexan parasites. Recently, the chloroplast in C. velia was shown to be derived from the red algal lineage. Light-harvesting protein complexes (LHC), which are a group of proteins involved in photon capture and energy transfer in photosynthesis, are important for photosynthesis efficiency, photo-adaptation/accumulation and photo-protection. Although these proteins are encoded by genes located in the nucleus, LHC peptides migrate and function in the chloroplast, hence the LHC may have a different evolutionary history compared to chloroplast evolution. Here, we compare the phylogenetic relationship of the C. velia LHCs to LHCs from other photosynthetic organisms. Twenty-three LHC homologues retrieved from C. velia EST sequences were aligned according to their conserved regions. The C. velia LHCs are positioned in four separate groups on trees constructed by neighbour-joining, maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods. A major group of seventeen LHCs from C. velia formed a separate cluster that was closest to dinoflagellate LHC, and to LHC and fucoxanthin chlorophyll-binding proteins from diatoms. One C. velia LHC sequence grouped with LI1818/LI818-like proteins, which were recently identified as environmental stress-induced protein complexes. Only three LHC homologues from C. velia grouped with the LHCs from red algae.

  17. The Fatty Acid Biosynthesis Enzyme FabI Plays a Key Role In the Development of Liver Stage Malarial Parasites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yu, Min; Santha Kumar, T. R.; Nkrumah, Louis J.; Coppi, Alida; Retzlaff, Silke; Li, Celeste D.; Kelly, Brendan J.; Moura, Pedro A.; Lakshmanan, Viswanathan; Freundlich, Joel S.; Valderramos, Juan-Carlos; Vilcheze, Catherine; Siedner, Mark; Tsai, Jennifer H.-C.; Falkard, Brie; Sidhu, Amar bir Singh; Purcell, Lisa A.; Gratraud, Paul; Kremer, Laurent; Waters, Andy P.; Schiehser, Guy; Jacobus, David P.; Janse, Chris J.; Ager, Arba; Jacobs, William R.; Sacchettini, James C.; Heussler, Volker; Sinnis, Photini; Fidock, David A.

    2008-01-01

    SUMMARY Fatty acid biosynthesis has been viewed as an important biological function of and therapeutic target for Plasmodium falciparum asexual blood stage infection. This apicoplast-resident type II pathway, distinct from the mammalian type I process, includes FabI. Here, we report synthetic chemistry and transfection studies concluding that Plasmodium FabI is not the target of the antimalarial activity of the bacterial FabI inhibitor triclosan. Disruption of fabI in P. falciparum or the rodent parasite P. berghei does not impede blood stage growth. In contrast, mosquito-derived fabI-deficient P. berghei sporozoites are markedly less infective for mice and typically fail to complete liver stage development in vitro. This is characterized by an inability to form intra-hepatic merosomes that normally initiate blood stage infections. These data illuminate key differences between liver and blood stage parasites in their requirements for host versus de novo synthesized fatty acids, and create new prospects for stage-specific antimalarial interventions. PMID:19064257

  18. Efficient site-specific integration in Plasmodium falciparum chromosomes mediated by mycobacteriophage Bxb1 integrase.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nkrumah, Louis J; Muhle, Rebecca A; Moura, Pedro A; Ghosh, Pallavi; Hatfull, Graham F; Jacobs, William R; Fidock, David A

    2006-08-01

    Here we report an efficient, site-specific system of genetic integration into Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite chromosomes. This is mediated by mycobacteriophage Bxb1 integrase, which catalyzes recombination between an incoming attP and a chromosomal attB site. We developed P. falciparum lines with the attB site integrated into the glutaredoxin-like cg6 gene. Transfection of these attB(+) lines with a dual-plasmid system, expressing a transgene on an attP-containing plasmid together with a drug resistance gene and the integrase on a separate plasmid, produced recombinant parasites within 2 to 4 weeks that were genetically uniform for single-copy plasmid integration. Integrase-mediated recombination resulted in proper targeting of parasite proteins to intra-erythrocytic compartments, including the apicoplast, a plastid-like organelle. Recombinant attB x attP parasites were genetically stable in the absence of drug and were phenotypically homogeneous. This system can be exploited for rapid genetic integration and complementation analyses at any stage of the P. falciparum life cycle, and it illustrates the utility of Bxb1-based integrative recombination for genetic studies of intracellular eukaryotic organisms.

  19. The fatty acid biosynthesis enzyme FabI plays a key role in the development of liver-stage malarial parasites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yu, Min; Kumar, T R Santha; Nkrumah, Louis J; Coppi, Alida; Retzlaff, Silke; Li, Celeste D; Kelly, Brendan J; Moura, Pedro A; Lakshmanan, Viswanathan; Freundlich, Joel S; Valderramos, Juan-Carlos; Vilcheze, Catherine; Siedner, Mark; Tsai, Jennifer H-C; Falkard, Brie; Sidhu, Amar Bir Singh; Purcell, Lisa A; Gratraud, Paul; Kremer, Laurent; Waters, Andrew P; Schiehser, Guy; Jacobus, David P; Janse, Chris J; Ager, Arba; Jacobs, William R; Sacchettini, James C; Heussler, Volker; Sinnis, Photini; Fidock, David A

    2008-12-11

    The fatty acid synthesis type II pathway has received considerable interest as a candidate therapeutic target in Plasmodium falciparum asexual blood-stage infections. This apicoplast-resident pathway, distinct from the mammalian type I process, includes FabI. Here, we report synthetic chemistry and transfection studies concluding that Plasmodium FabI is not the target of the antimalarial activity of triclosan, an inhibitor of bacterial FabI. Disruption of fabI in P. falciparum or the rodent parasite P. berghei does not impede blood-stage growth. In contrast, mosquito-derived, FabI-deficient P. berghei sporozoites are markedly less infective for mice and typically fail to complete liver-stage development in vitro. This defect is characterized by an inability to form intrahepatic merosomes that normally initiate blood-stage infections. These data illuminate key differences between liver- and blood-stage parasites in their requirements for host versus de novo synthesized fatty acids, and create new prospects for stage-specific antimalarial interventions.

  20. Isolation and characterization of viable Toxoplasma gondii isolates revealed possible high frequency of mixed infection in feral cats ( Felis domesticus) from St Kitts, West Indies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dubey, J P; Moura, L; Majumdar, D; Sundar, N; Velmurugan, G V; Kwok, O C H; Kelly, P; Krecek, R C; Su, C

    2009-05-01

    Cats are essential in the epidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii because they are the only hosts that can excrete the environmentally resistant oocysts in nature. Samples of serum, feces, and tissues from feral cats from St Kitts, West Indies were examined for T. gondii infection. Antibodies to T. gondii were assayed by the modified agglutination test, and found in 71 of 96 (73.9%) of cats with titres of 1:10 in six, 1: 20 in six,1:40 in seven,1: 80 in three, 1: 160 in 10, 1:320 in 13, 1:640 in nine, and 1:1,280 or higher in 17. Tissues of 10 cats were bio-assayed in mice. Toxoplasma gondii was isolated from tissues of 7 cats; from hearts of 6, from tongue of 5, and brains of 3 cats. All 7 isolates were avirulent for mice. Toxoplasma gondii oocysts were not found in the feces of 51 cats. Genotyping of these 7 T. gondii isolates by 10 multi-locus PCR-RFLP markers, including SAG1, SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1, and an apicoplast marker, Apico, revealed 4 genotypes, including clonal Type II, Type III and 2 unique genotypes. Five of the 7 cats had infection with 2 genotypes, indicating high frequency of mixed infection in the cat population on the St Kitts island.

  1. Plant hormone cytokinins control cell cycle progression and plastid replication in apicomplexan parasites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andrabi, Syed Bilal Ahmad; Tahara, Michiru; Matsubara, Ryuma; Toyama, Tomoko; Aonuma, Hiroka; Sakakibara, Hitoshi; Suematsu, Makoto; Tanabe, Kazuyuki; Nozaki, Tomoyoshi; Nagamune, Kisaburo

    2018-02-01

    Cytokinins are plant hormones that are involved in regulation of cell proliferation, cell cycle progression, and cell and plastid development. Here, we show that the apicomplexan parasites Toxoplasma gondii and Plasmodium berghei, an opportunistic human pathogen and a rodent malaria agent, respectively, produce cytokinins via a biosynthetic pathway similar to that in plants. Cytokinins regulate the growth and cell cycle progression of T. gondii by mediating expression of the cyclin gene TgCYC4. A natural form of cytokinin, trans-zeatin (t-zeatin), upregulated expression of this cyclin, while a synthetic cytokinin, thidiazuron, downregulated its expression. Immunofluorescence microscopy and quantitative PCR analysis showed that t-zeatin increased the genome-copy number of apicoplast, which are non-photosynthetic plastid, in the parasite, while thidiazuron led to their disappearance. Thidiazuron inhibited growth of T. gondii and Plasmodium falciparum, a human malaria parasite, suggesting that thidiazuron has therapeutic potential as an inhibitor of apicomplexan parasites. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  2. Lipid Synthesis in Protozoan Parasites: a Comparison Between Kinetoplastids and Apicomplexans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramakrishnan, Srinivasan; Serricchio, Mauro; Striepen, Boris; Bütikofer, Peter

    2013-01-01

    Lipid metabolism is of crucial importance for pathogens. Lipids serve as cellular building blocks, signalling molecules, energy stores, posttranslational modifiers, and pathogenesis factors. Parasites rely on a complex system of uptake and synthesis mechanisms to satisfy their lipid needs. The parameters of this system change dramatically as the parasite transits through the various stages of its life cycle. Here we discuss the tremendous recent advances that have been made in the understanding of the synthesis and uptake pathways for fatty acids and phospholipids in apicomplexan and kinetoplastid parasites, including Plasmodium, Toxoplasma, Cryptosporidium, Trypanosoma and Leishmania. Lipid synthesis differs in significant ways between parasites from both phyla and the human host. Parasites have acquired novel pathways through endosymbiosis, as in the case of the apicoplast, have dramatically reshaped substrate and product profiles, and have evolved specialized lipids to interact with or manipulate the host. These differences potentially provide opportunities for drug development. We outline the lipid pathways for key species in detail as they progress through the developmental cycle and highlight those that are of particular importance to the biology of the pathogens and/or are the most promising targets for parasite-specific treatment. PMID:23827884

  3. An FtsH protease is recruited to the mitochondrion of Plasmodium falciparum.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aiman Tanveer

    Full Text Available The two organelles, apicoplast and mitochondrion, of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum have unique morphology in liver and blood stages; they undergo complex branching and looping prior to division and segregation into daughter merozoites. Little is known about the molecular processes and proteins involved in organelle biogenesis in the parasite. We report the identification of an AAA+/FtsH protease homolog (PfFtsH1 that exhibits ATP- and Zn(2+-dependent protease activity. PfFtsH1 undergoes processing, forms oligomeric assemblies, and is associated with the membrane fraction of the parasite cell. Generation of a transfectant parasite line with hemagglutinin-tagged PfFtsH1, and immunofluorescence assay with anti-PfFtsH1 Ab demonstrated that the protein localises to P. falciparum mitochondria. Phylogenetic analysis and the single transmembrane region identifiable in PfFtsH1 suggest that it is an i-AAA like inner mitochondrial membrane protein. Expression of PfFtsH1 in Escherichia coli converted a fraction of bacterial cells into division-defective filamentous forms implying a sequestering effect of the Plasmodium factor on the bacterial homolog, indicative of functional conservation with EcFtsH. These results identify a membrane-associated mitochondrial AAA+/FtsH protease as a candidate regulatory protein for organelle biogenesis in P. falciparum.

  4. Inhibition of protein synthesis and malaria parasite development by drug targeting of methionyl-tRNA synthetases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hussain, Tahir; Yogavel, Manickam; Sharma, Amit

    2015-04-01

    Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) are housekeeping enzymes that couple cognate tRNAs with amino acids to transmit genomic information for protein translation. The Plasmodium falciparum nuclear genome encodes two P. falciparum methionyl-tRNA synthetases (PfMRS), termed PfMRS(cyt) and PfMRS(api). Phylogenetic analyses revealed that the two proteins are of primitive origin and are related to heterokonts (PfMRS(cyt)) or proteobacteria/primitive bacteria (PfMRS(api)). We show that PfMRS(cyt) localizes in parasite cytoplasm, while PfMRS(api) localizes to apicoplasts in asexual stages of malaria parasites. Two known bacterial MRS inhibitors, REP3123 and REP8839, hampered Plasmodium growth very effectively in the early and late stages of parasite development. Small-molecule drug-like libraries were screened against modeled PfMRS structures, and several "hit" compounds showed significant effects on parasite growth. We then tested the effects of the hit compounds on protein translation by labeling nascent proteins with (35)S-labeled cysteine and methionine. Three of the tested compounds reduced protein synthesis and also blocked parasite growth progression from the ring stage to the trophozoite stage. Drug docking studies suggested distinct modes of binding for the three compounds, compared with the enzyme product methionyl adenylate. Therefore, this study provides new targets (PfMRSs) and hit compounds that can be explored for development as antimalarial drugs. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  5. The Complete Mitochondrial Genome of the Foodborne Parasitic Pathogen Cyclospora cayetanensis.

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    Hediye Nese Cinar

    Full Text Available Cyclospora cayetanensis is a human-specific coccidian parasite responsible for several food and water-related outbreaks around the world, including the most recent ones involving over 900 persons in 2013 and 2014 outbreaks in the USA. Multicopy organellar DNA such as mitochondrion genomes have been particularly informative for detection and genetic traceback analysis in other parasites. We sequenced the C. cayetanensis genomic DNA obtained from stool samples from patients infected with Cyclospora in Nepal using the Illumina MiSeq platform. By bioinformatically filtering out the metagenomic reads of non-coccidian origin sequences and concentrating the reads by targeted alignment, we were able to obtain contigs containing Eimeria-like mitochondrial, apicoplastic and some chromosomal genomic fragments. A mitochondrial genomic sequence was assembled and confirmed by cloning and sequencing targeted PCR products amplified from Cyclospora DNA using primers based on our draft assembly sequence. The results show that the C. cayetanensis mitochondrion genome is 6274 bp in length, with 33% GC content, and likely exists in concatemeric arrays as in Eimeria mitochondrial genomes. Phylogenetic analysis of the C. cayetanensis mitochondrial genome places this organism in a tight cluster with Eimeria species. The mitochondrial genome of C. cayetanensis contains three protein coding genes, cytochrome (cytb, cytochrome C oxidase subunit 1 (cox1, and cytochrome C oxidase subunit 3 (cox3, in addition to 14 large subunit (LSU and nine small subunit (SSU fragmented rRNA genes.

  6. A novel genetic technique in Plasmodium berghei allows liver stage analysis of genes required for mosquito stage development and demonstrates that de novo heme synthesis is essential for liver stage development in the malaria parasite.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Upeksha L Rathnapala

    2017-06-01

    Full Text Available The combination of drug resistance, lack of an effective vaccine, and ongoing conflict and poverty means that malaria remains a major global health crisis. Understanding metabolic pathways at all parasite life stages is important in prioritising and targeting novel anti-parasitic compounds. The unusual heme synthesis pathway of the rodent malaria parasite, Plasmodium berghei, requires eight enzymes distributed across the mitochondrion, apicoplast and cytoplasm. Deletion of the ferrochelatase (FC gene, the final enzyme in the pathway, confirms that heme synthesis is not essential in the red blood cell stages of the life cycle but is required to complete oocyst development in mosquitoes. The lethality of FC deletions in the mosquito stage makes it difficult to study the impact of these mutations in the subsequent liver stage. To overcome this, we combined locus-specific fluorophore expression with a genetic complementation approach to generate viable, heterozygous oocysts able to produce a mix of FC expressing and FC deficient sporozoites. These sporozoites show normal motility and can invade liver cells, where FC deficient parasites can be distinguished by fluorescence and phenotyped. Parasites lacking FC exhibit a severe growth defect within liver cells, with development failure detectable in the early to mid stages of liver development in vitro. FC deficient parasites could not complete liver stage development in vitro nor infect naïve mice, confirming liver stage arrest. These results validate the heme pathway as a potential target for prophylactic drugs targeting liver stage parasites. In addition, we demonstrate that our simple genetic approach can extend the phenotyping window beyond the insect stages, opening considerable scope for straightforward reverse genetic analysis of genes that are dispensable in blood stages but essential for completing mosquito development.

  7. Multiple essential functions of Plasmodium falciparum actin-1 during malaria blood-stage development.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Das, Sujaan; Lemgruber, Leandro; Tay, Chwen L; Baum, Jake; Meissner, Markus

    2017-08-15

    The phylum Apicomplexa includes intracellular parasites causing immense global disease burden, the deadliest of them being the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which invades and replicates within erythrocytes. The cytoskeletal protein actin is well conserved within apicomplexans but divergent from mammalian actins, and was primarily reported to function during host cell invasion. However, novel invasion mechanisms have been described for several apicomplexans, and specific functions of the acto-myosin system are being reinvestigated. Of the two actin genes in P. falciparum, actin-1 (pfact1) is ubiquitously expressed in all life-cycle stages and is thought to be required for erythrocyte invasion, although its functions during parasite development are unknown, and definitive in vivo characterisation during invasion is lacking. Here we have used a conditional Cre-lox system to investigate the functions of PfACT1 during P. falciparum blood-stage development and host cell invasion. We demonstrate that PfACT1 is crucially required for segregation of the plastid-like organelle, the apicoplast, and for efficient daughter cell separation during the final stages of cytokinesis. Surprisingly, we observe that egress from the host cell is not an actin-dependent process. Finally, we show that parasites lacking PfACT1 are capable of microneme secretion, attachment and formation of a junction with the erythrocyte, but are incapable of host cell invasion. This study provides important mechanistic insights into the definitive essential functions of PfACT1 in P. falciparum, which are not only of biological interest, but owing to functional divergence from mammalian actins, could also form the basis for the development of novel therapeutics against apicomplexans.

  8. Mouse-virulent Toxoplasma gondii isolated from feral cats on Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dubey, J P; López-Torres, H Y; Sundar, N; Velmurugan, G V; Ajzenberg, D; Kwok, O C H; Hill, R; Dardé, M L; Su, C

    2007-12-01

    Cats are essential in the life cycle of Toxoplasma gondii because they are the only hosts that can excrete the environmentally resistant oocysts. Samples of serum, feces, and tissues from cats from Mona, a remote island off the coast of Puerto Rico, were examined for T. gondii infection. Antibodies to T. gondii were assayed by the modified agglutination test and found in 16 of 19 (84.2%) of cats, with titers of 1:10 in 2, 1:80 in 1, 1:160 in 4, 1:320 in 3, and 1:1,280 or higher in 6. Tissues of 19 of the 20 cats were bioassayed in mice for T. gondii infection. Toxoplasma gondii was isolated from tissues of 12 cats: from the hearts of 9, skeletal muscle of 10, and brain of 1 cat. All infected mice from 10 of 12 isolates died of acute toxoplasmosis during primary infection. Genotyping of these 12 T. gondii isolates (designated (TgCatPr 1-12) by 10 multilocus PCR-RFLP markers, i.e., SAG1, SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1, and an apicoplast marker Apico, and the 6 multilocus microsatellite markers TUB2, W35, TgM-A, B18, B17, and M33, revealed 7 genotypes; 5 isolates had Type I alleles at all loci except at 1 microsatellite locus, and the remainder were atypical. The latter isolates of T. gondii were different biologically and phenotypically from the feline isolates from the rest of the Americas. One isolate (TgCatPr 12) was a mixed infection with 2 genotypes.

  9. The evolutionary host switches of Polychromophilus: a multi-gene phylogeny of the bat malaria genus suggests a second invasion of mammals by a haemosporidian parasite

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Witsenburg Fardo

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The majority of Haemosporida species infect birds or reptiles, but many important genera, including Plasmodium, infect mammals. Dipteran vectors shared by avian, reptilian and mammalian Haemosporida, suggest multiple invasions of Mammalia during haemosporidian evolution; yet, phylogenetic analyses have detected only a single invasion event. Until now, several important mammal-infecting genera have been absent in these analyses. This study focuses on the evolutionary origin of Polychromophilus, a unique malaria genus that only infects bats (Microchiroptera and is transmitted by bat flies (Nycteribiidae. Methods Two species of Polychromophilus were obtained from wild bats caught in Switzerland. These were molecularly characterized using four genes (asl, clpc, coI, cytb from the three different genomes (nucleus, apicoplast, mitochondrion. These data were then combined with data of 60 taxa of Haemosporida available in GenBank. Bayesian inference, maximum likelihood and a range of rooting methods were used to test specific hypotheses concerning the phylogenetic relationships between Polychromophilus and the other haemosporidian genera. Results The Polychromophilus melanipherus and Polychromophilus murinus samples show genetically distinct patterns and group according to species. The Bayesian tree topology suggests that the monophyletic clade of Polychromophilus falls within the avian/saurian clade of Plasmodium and directed hypothesis testing confirms the Plasmodium origin. Conclusion Polychromophilus' ancestor was most likely a bird- or reptile-infecting Plasmodium before it switched to bats. The invasion of mammals as hosts has, therefore, not been a unique event in the evolutionary history of Haemosporida, despite the suspected costs of adapting to a new host. This was, moreover, accompanied by a switch in dipteran host.

  10. A novel genetic technique in Plasmodium berghei allows liver stage analysis of genes required for mosquito stage development and demonstrates that de novo heme synthesis is essential for liver stage development in the malaria parasite.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rathnapala, Upeksha L; Goodman, Christopher D; McFadden, Geoffrey I

    2017-06-01

    The combination of drug resistance, lack of an effective vaccine, and ongoing conflict and poverty means that malaria remains a major global health crisis. Understanding metabolic pathways at all parasite life stages is important in prioritising and targeting novel anti-parasitic compounds. The unusual heme synthesis pathway of the rodent malaria parasite, Plasmodium berghei, requires eight enzymes distributed across the mitochondrion, apicoplast and cytoplasm. Deletion of the ferrochelatase (FC) gene, the final enzyme in the pathway, confirms that heme synthesis is not essential in the red blood cell stages of the life cycle but is required to complete oocyst development in mosquitoes. The lethality of FC deletions in the mosquito stage makes it difficult to study the impact of these mutations in the subsequent liver stage. To overcome this, we combined locus-specific fluorophore expression with a genetic complementation approach to generate viable, heterozygous oocysts able to produce a mix of FC expressing and FC deficient sporozoites. These sporozoites show normal motility and can invade liver cells, where FC deficient parasites can be distinguished by fluorescence and phenotyped. Parasites lacking FC exhibit a severe growth defect within liver cells, with development failure detectable in the early to mid stages of liver development in vitro. FC deficient parasites could not complete liver stage development in vitro nor infect naïve mice, confirming liver stage arrest. These results validate the heme pathway as a potential target for prophylactic drugs targeting liver stage parasites. In addition, we demonstrate that our simple genetic approach can extend the phenotyping window beyond the insect stages, opening considerable scope for straightforward reverse genetic analysis of genes that are dispensable in blood stages but essential for completing mosquito development.

  11. Archigregarines of the English Channel revisited: New molecular data on Selenidium species including early described and new species and the uncertainties of phylogenetic relationships.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sonja Rueckert

    Full Text Available Gregarines represent an important transition step from free-living predatory (colpodellids s.l. and/or photosynthetic (Chromera and Vitrella apicomplexan lineages to the most important pathogens, obligate intracellular parasites of humans and domestic animals such as coccidians and haemosporidians (Plasmodium, Toxoplasma, Eimeria, Babesia, etc.. While dozens of genomes of other apicomplexan groups are available, gregarines are barely entering the molecular age. Among the gregarines, archigregarines possess a unique mixture of ancestral (myzocytosis and derived (lack of apicoplast, presence of subpellicular microtubules features.In this study we revisited five of the early-described species of the genus Selenidium including the type species Selenidium pendula, with special focus on surface ultrastructure and molecular data. We were also able to describe three new species within this genus. All species were characterized at morphological (light and scanning electron microscopy data and molecular (SSU rDNA sequence data levels. Gregarine specimens were isolated from polychaete hosts collected from the English Channel near the Station Biologique de Roscoff, France: Selenidium pendula from Scolelepis squamata, S. hollandei and S. sabellariae from Sabellaria alveolata, S. sabellae from Sabella pavonina, Selenidium fallax from Cirriformia tentaculata, S. spiralis sp. n. and S. antevariabilis sp. n. from Amphitritides gracilis, and S. opheliae sp. n. from Ophelia roscoffensis. Molecular phylogenetic analyses of these data showed archigregarines clustering into five separate clades and support previous doubts about their monophyly.Our phylogenies using the extended gregarine sampling show that the archigregarines are indeed not monophyletic with one strongly supported clade of Selenidium sequences around the type species S. pendula. We suggest the revision of the whole archigregarine taxonomy with only the species within this clade remaining in the genus

  12. Molecular characterization of misidentified Plasmodium ovale imported cases in Singapore.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chavatte, Jean-Marc; Tan, Sarah Bee Hui; Snounou, Georges; Lin, Raymond Tzer Pin Valentine

    2015-11-14

    Plasmodium ovale, considered the rarest of the malaria parasites of humans, consists of two morphologically identical but genetically distinct sympatric species, Plasmodium ovale curtisi and Plasmodium ovale wallikeri. These parasites resemble morphologically to Plasmodium vivax with which they also share a tertian periodicity and the ability to cause relapses, making them easily misidentified as P. vivax. Plasmodium ovale infections are rarely reported, but given the likelihood of misidentification, their prevalence might be underestimated. Morphological and molecular analysis of confirmed malaria cases admitted in Singapore in 2012-2014 detected nine imported P. ovale cases that had been misidentified as P. vivax. Since P. ovale had not been previously officially reported in Singapore, a retrospective analysis of available, frozen, archival blood samples was performed and returned two additional misidentified P. ovale cases in 2003 and 2006. These eleven P. ovale samples were characterized with respect to seven molecular markers (ssrRNA, Potra, Porbp2, Pog3p, dhfr-ts, cytb, cox1) used in recent studies to distinguish between the two sympatric species, and to a further three genes (tufa, clpC and asl). The morphological features of P. ovale and the differential diagnosis with P. vivax were reviewed and illustrated by microphotographs. The genetic dimorphism between P. ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri was assessed by ten molecular markers distributed across the three genomes of the parasite (Genbank KP050361-KP050470). The data obtained for seven of these markers were compared with those published and confirmed that both P. ovale species were present. This dimorphism was also confirmed for the first time on: (1) two genes from the apicoplast genome (tufA and clpC genes); and, (2) the asl gene that was used for phylogenetic analyses of other Plasmodium species, and that was found to harbour the highest number of dimorphic loci between the two P. ovale species