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
Yeh, Ellen; DeRisi, Joseph L
Plasmodium spp parasites harbor an unusual plastid organelle called the apicoplast. Due to its prokaryotic origin and essential function, the apicoplast is a key target for development of new anti-malarials. Over 500 proteins are predicted to localize to this organelle and several prokaryotic biochemical pathways have been annotated, yet the essential role of the apicoplast during human infection remains a mystery. Previous work showed that treatment with fosmidomycin, an inhibitor of non-mevalonate isoprenoid precursor biosynthesis in the apicoplast, inhibits the growth of blood-stage P. falciparum. Herein, we demonstrate that fosmidomycin inhibition can be chemically rescued by supplementation with isopentenyl pyrophosphate (IPP), the pathway product. Surprisingly, IPP supplementation also completely reverses death following treatment with antibiotics that cause loss of the apicoplast. We show that antibiotic-treated parasites rescued with IPP over multiple cycles specifically lose their apicoplast genome and fail to process or localize organelle proteins, rendering them functionally apicoplast-minus. Despite the loss of this essential organelle, these apicoplast-minus auxotrophs can be grown indefinitely in asexual blood stage culture but are entirely dependent on exogenous IPP for survival. These findings indicate that isoprenoid precursor biosynthesis is the only essential function of the apicoplast during blood-stage growth. Moreover, apicoplast-minus P. falciparum strains will be a powerful tool for further investigation of apicoplast biology as well as drug and vaccine development.
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.
Oborník, Miroslav; Janouškovec, Jan; Chrudimský, Tomáš; Lukeš, Julius
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
Oborník, Miroslav; Van de Peer, Y.; Hypša, Václav; Frickey, T.; Šlapeta, Jan Roger; Meyer, A.; Lukeš, Julius
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
Gunjan, S; Singh, S K; Chauhan, B S; Pandey, S K; Ahmad, H; Dwivedi, A K; Tripathi, R
Many important drugs like mefloquine are not being used because of the development of resistance and other related issues. In the present study, we aimed to control drug resistance by using combination therapy and tried to understand the mechanism involved. We have explored in vitro interaction of clarithromycin (CLTR), and mefloquine (MQ) against Pf3D7 and PfK1 strains. Bioavailability of MQ in parasitized RBC lysate was checked in the presence/absence of CLTR using HPLC method. Further tufA mRNA/protein expression was investigated to know the effect of both drugs on apicoplast by using qPCR and Western blotting. MQ and CLTR inhibited growth of Pf3D7 and PfK1. CLTR showed its delayed antimalarial effect by its low IC50 values in the second cycle which indicates its effect on apicoplast. Downregulation of tufA expression on both mRNA and protein level supports this hypothesis. MQ and CLTR showed synergism/additiveness (mean ∑FICs = 0.89 and 1.26) against Pf3D7 and PfK1 respectively. It is evidenced from HPLC data that CLTR might have reduced metabolism of MQ in Plasmodium falciparum, leading to increased levels of MQ to produce enhanced antimalarial activity. The metabolism of CLTR is also reduced may be due to competitive metabolism of MQ via CYP3A4. The present study reveals that broad spectrum biological activities (i.e. antimalarial and antiviral) of MQ can be saved by using suitable partner drug like CLTR. This study also shows that CLTR increases the concentration of MQ and disrupts the apicoplast. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Michelle Klein Sercundes
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.
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.
Duvalsaint, Marvin; Kyle, Dennis E
Many organisms undergo dormancy as a stress response to survive under unfavorable conditions that might impede development. This is observed in seeds and buds of plants and has been proposed as a mechanism of drug evasion and resistance formation in Plasmodium falciparum We explored the effects of the phytohormones abscisic acid (ABA) and gibberellic acid (GA) on dihydroartemisinin (DHA)-induced dormant erythrocytic stages of P. falciparum parasites. Dormant ring stages exposed to ABA and GA recovered from dormancy up to 48 h earlier than parasites exposed to DHA alone. Conversely, fluridone, an herbicide inhibitor of ABA synthesis, blocked emergence from dormancy. Additionally, the role of the apicoplast was assessed in dormant parasite recovery. Apicoplast-deficient P. falciparum remained viable for up to 8 days without the organelle and recrudesced only when supplemented with isopentyl pyrophosphate (IPP). IPP was not required for survival in the dormant state. Fosmidomycin inhibition of isoprenoid biosynthesis did not prevent dormancy release from occurring in parasites with an intact apicoplast, but IPP or geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate was needed for complete recrudescence. In addition, the apicoplast and specifically the isoprenoids it produces are essential for recovery of dormant parasites. In summary, ABA and GA have significant effects on dormant parasites, and the phenotypes produced by these phytohormones and the herbicide fluridone also provide a means to explore the mechanism(s) underlying dormancy and the regulatory network that promotes cell cycle arrest in P. falciparum . Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.
Mailu, Boniface M.
© 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.
Wang, Tao; Guan, Guiquan; Korhonen, Pasi K; Koehler, Anson V; Hall, Ross S; Young, Neil D; Yin, Hong; Gasser, Robin B
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.
Sidhu, Amar Bir Singh; Sun, Qingan; Nkrumah, Louis J; Dunne, Michael W; Sacchettini, James C; Fidock, David A
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.
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
Sharma, Drista; Soni, Rani; Rai, Praveen; Sharma, Bhaskar; Bhatt, Tarun Kumar
The alignment of the evolutionary history of parasites with that of plants provides a different panorama in the drug development process. The housing of different metabolic processes, essential for parasite survival, adds to the indispensability of the apicoplast. The different pathways responsible for fueling the apicoplast and parasite offer a myriad of proteins responsible for the apicoplast function. The studies emphasizing the target-based approaches might help in the discovery of antimalarials. The different putative drug targets and their roles are highlighted. In addition, the origin of the apicoplast and metabolic processes are reviewed and the different drugs acting upon the enzymes of the apicoplast are discussed. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Florentin, Anat; Cobb, David W; Fishburn, Jillian D; Cipriano, Michael J; Kim, Paul S; Fierro, Manuel A; Striepen, Boris; Muralidharan, Vasant
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. Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Full Text Available Emergence of rapid drug resistance to existing antimalarial drugs in Plasmodium falciparum has created the need for prediction of novel targets as well as leads derived from original molecules with improved activity against a validated drug target. The malaria parasite has a plant plastid-like apicoplast. To overcome the problem of falciparum malaria, the metabolic pathways in parasite apicoplast have been used as antimalarial drug targets. Among several pathways in apicoplast, isoprenoid biosynthesis is one of the important pathways for parasite as its multiplication in human erythrocytes requires isoprenoids. Therefore targeting this pathway and exploring leads with improved activity is a highly attractive approach. This report has explored progress towards the study of proteins and inhibitors of isoprenoid biosynthesis pathway. For more comprehensive analysis, antimalarial drug-protein interaction has been covered.
Smith, Aaron T.; Livingston, Meredith R.; Mai, Antonello; Filetici, Patrizia; Queener, Sherry F.; Sullivan, William J.
We report that quinoline derivative MC1626, first described as an inhibitor of the histone acetyltransferase (HAT) GCN5, is active against the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii in vitro. However, MC1626 does not inhibit Toxoplasma GCN5 HATs or reduce HAT-mediated activity; rather, this quinoline may target the plastid organelle called the apicoplast. PMID:17178801
Tarun, Alice S; Peng, Xinxia; Dumpit, Ronald F; Ogata, Yuko; Silva-Rivera, Hilda; Camargo, Nelly; Daly, Thomas M; Bergman, Lawrence W; Kappe, Stefan H I
For 50 years since their discovery, the malaria parasite liver stages (LS) have been difficult to analyze, impeding their utilization as a critical target for antiinfection vaccines and drugs. We have undertaken a comprehensive transcriptome analysis in combination with a proteomic survey of LS. Green fluorescent protein-tagged Plasmodium yoelii (PyGFP) was used to efficiently isolate LS-infected hepatocytes from the rodent host. Genome-wide LS gene expression was profiled and compared with other parasite life cycle stages. The analysis revealed approximately 2,000 genes active during LS development, and proteomic analysis identified 816 proteins. A subset of proteins appeared to be expressed in LS only. The data revealed exported parasite proteins and LS metabolic pathways including expression of FASII pathway enzymes. The FASII inhibitor hexachlorophene and the antibiotics, tetracycline and rifampicin, that target the apicoplast inhibited LS development, identifying FASII and other pathways localized in the apicoplast as potential drug targets to prevent malaria infection.
Wittlin, Sergio; Ekland, Eric; Craft, J Carl; Lotharius, Julie; Bathurst, Ian; Fidock, David A; Fernandes, Prabhavathi
With the emergence of Plasmodium falciparum infections exhibiting increased parasite clearance times in response to treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapies, the need for new therapeutic agents is urgent. Solithromycin, a potent new fluoroketolide currently in development, has been shown to be an effective, broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent. Malarial parasites possess an unusual organelle, termed the apicoplast, which carries a cryptic genome of prokaryotic origin that encodes its own translation and transcription machinery. Given the similarity of apicoplast and bacterial ribosomes, we have examined solithromycin for antimalarial activity. Other antibiotics known to target the apicoplast, such as the macrolide azithromycin, demonstrate a delayed-death effect, whereby treated asexual blood-stage parasites die in the second generation of drug exposure. Solithromycin demonstrated potent in vitro activity against the NF54 strain of P. falciparum, as well as against two multidrug-resistant strains, Dd2 and 7G8. The dramatic increase in potency observed after two generations of exposure suggests that it targets the apicoplast. Solithromycin also retained potency against azithromycin-resistant parasites derived from Dd2 and 7G8, although these lines did demonstrate a degree of cross-resistance. In an in vivo model of P. berghei infection in mice, solithromycin demonstrated a 100% cure rate when administered as a dosage regimen of four doses of 100 mg/kg of body weight, the same dose required for artesunate or chloroquine to achieve 100% cure rates in this rodent malaria model. These promising in vitro and in vivo data support further investigations into the development of solithromycin as an antimalarial agent.
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
Apicomplexa including the causative agents of toxoplasmosis and malaria reportedly possess one or few tubular-shaped mitochondria that permeate, more or less branched, throughout these unicellular parasites. Electron micrographs generated herein from serial-sectioned Toxoplasma gondii tachyzoites demonstrated, however, a greater diversity regarding both the shape of the cultured parasite's single mitochondrion and its sub-structural organization. Moreover, a unique subcellular construction was detected that basically comprised a pouch-shaped subdivision of the tachyzoite mitochondrion plus a fraction of parasitic cytoplasm enclosed therein. This composite assembling, termed ovoid mitochondrial cytoplasmic (OMC) complex, characteristically displayed a highly reduced matrix lumen of its mitochondrial border construction, which furthermore often failed to possess any cristae or contained tightly pleated cristae, thus creating a pouch-shaped multi-laminar wall of four or more membranous layers, respectively. Given this architecture, cross-sectioned OMC complexes of T. gondii tachyzoites frequently mimicked in size and shape the parasites' plastid-like organelle (apicoplast). Moreover, like the apicoplast, the OMC complex was often found adjacent to the tachyzoite's single Golgi complex and constantly located in close proximity to the outer membrane of the parasite's nuclear envelope. The T. gondii OMC complex differed, however, from the apicoplast in its exact fine structural organization and a stage-restricted presence that was apparently linked to mitochondrial growth and/or division. Any special function(s) possibly performed by the T. gondii OMC complex remains, nevertheless, to be elucidated.
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
Kadri, Dema; Crater, Anna K; Lee, Hoyun; Solomon, V Raja; Ananvoranich, Sirinart
Here we reported our investigation, as part of our drug repositioning effort, on anti-Toxoplasma properties of newly synthesized quinoline compounds. A collection of 4-aminoquinoline and 4-piperazinylquinoline analogs have recently been synthesized for use in cancer chemotherapy. Some analogs were able to outperform chloroquine, a quinoline derivative drug which is commonly used in the treatment of malaria and other parasitic infections. Herein 58 compounds containing one or two quinoline rings were examined for their effectiveness as potential anti-Toxoplasma compounds. Of these 58 compounds, 32 were efficient at inhibiting Toxoplasma growth (IC50Toxoplasma effect among quinoline derivatives was detected in B11, B12, B23, and B24, whose structures carry two quinoline rings, and their resultant cLogP values are ⩾7. Among these compounds, B23 was the most effective compound with IC50 value of 425±35 nM, and TI value of 4.9. It was also noted that compounds with at least one quinoline ring, displaying anti-Toxoplasma effects were capable of causing the disappearance of the apicoplast, a plastid-like organelle. When treated with quinoline, 8-hydroxyquinoline or B23, 40-45% of the parasites lost their apicoplasts. Our findings recapitulate the properties of quinoline derivatives in diminishing apicoplast. This could aid further investigations of anti-parasitic treatments specific to Apicomplexan. More importantly, B12 and B23 which harbor superior anti-cancer properties than chloroquine, have effective anti-Toxoplasma activity. These compounds therefore have significant potential for future development of chemotherapeutic agents for patients suffering from breast cancers and parasitic infection. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Briolant, Sébastien; Almeras, Lionel; Belghazi, Maya; Boucomont-Chapeaublanc, Elodie; Wurtz, Nathalie; Fontaine, Albin; Granjeaud, Samuel; Fusaï, Thierry; Rogier, Christophe; Pradines, Bruno
The emergence of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to most anti-malarial compounds has highlighted the urgency to develop new drugs and to clarify the mechanisms of anti-malarial drugs currently used. Among them, doxycycline is used alone for malaria chemoprophylaxis or in combination with quinine or artemisinin derivatives for malaria treatment. The molecular mechanisms of doxycycline action in P. falciparum have not yet been clearly defined, particularly at the protein level. A proteomic approach was used to analyse protein expression changes in the schizont stage of the malarial parasite P. falciparum following doxycycline treatment. A comparison of protein expression between treated and untreated protein samples was performed using two complementary proteomic approaches: two-dimensional fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) and isobaric tagging reagents for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ). After doxycycline treatment, 32 and 40 P. falciparum proteins were found to have significantly deregulated expression levels by 2D-DIGE and iTRAQ methods, respectively. Although some of these proteins have been already described as being deregulated by other drug treatments, numerous changes in protein levels seem to be specific to doxycycline treatment, which could perturb apicoplast metabolism. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was performed to confirm this hypothesis. In this study, a specific response to doxycycline treatment was distinguished and seems to involve mitochondrion and apicoplast organelles. These data provide a starting point for the elucidation of drug targets and the discovery of mechanisms of resistance to anti-malarial compounds.
Gornik, Sebastian G.
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.
Sharma, Arvind; Sharma, Amit
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.
Vaughan, Ashley M; O'Neill, Matthew T; Tarun, Alice S; Camargo, Nelly; Phuong, Thuan M; Aly, Ahmed S I; Cowman, Alan F; Kappe, Stefan H I
Intracellular malaria parasites require lipids for growth and replication. They possess a prokaryotic type II fatty acid synthesis (FAS II) pathway that localizes to the apicoplast plastid organelle and is assumed to be necessary for pathogenic blood stage replication. However, the importance of FAS II throughout the complex parasite life cycle remains unknown. We show in a rodent malaria model that FAS II enzymes localize to the sporozoite and liver stage apicoplast. Targeted deletion of FabB/F, a critical enzyme in fatty acid synthesis, did not affect parasite blood stage replication, mosquito stage development and initial infection in the liver. This was confirmed by knockout of FabZ, another critical FAS II enzyme. However, FAS II-deficient Plasmodium yoelii liver stages failed to form exo-erythrocytic merozoites, the invasive stage that first initiates blood stage infection. Furthermore, deletion of FabI in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum did not show a reduction in asexual blood stage replication in vitro. Malaria parasites therefore depend on the intrinsic FAS II pathway only at one specific life cycle transition point, from liver to blood.
Pei, Ying; Tarun, Alice S; Vaughan, Ashley M; Herman, Rob W; Soliman, Joanne M B; Erickson-Wayman, Alyssa; Kappe, Stefan H I
Plasmodium parasites possess a single pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) enzyme complex that is localized to the plastid-like organelle known as the apicoplast. Unlike most eukaryotes, Plasmodium parasites lack a mitochondrial PDH. The PDH complex catalyses the conversion of pyruvate to acetyl-CoA, an important precursor for the tricarboxylic acid cycle and type II fatty acid synthesis (FAS II). In this study, using a rodent malaria model, we show that the PDH E1 alpha and E3 subunits colocalize with the FAS II enzyme FabI in the apicoplast of liver stages but are not significantly expressed in blood stages. Deletion of the E1 alpha or E3 subunit genes of Plasmodium yoelii PDH caused no defect in blood stage development, mosquito stage development or early liver stage development. However, the gene deletions completely blocked the ability of the e1 alpha(-) and e3(-) parasites to form exo-erythrocytic merozoites during late liver stage development, thus preventing the initiation of a blood stage infection. This phenotype is similar to that observed for deletions of genes involved in FAS II elongation. The data strongly support the hypothesis that the sole role of PDH is to provide acetyl-CoA for FAS II.
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)
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.
M El Bakkouri; A Pow; A Mulichak; K Cheung; J Artz; M Amani; S Fell; T de Koning-Ward; C Goodman; et al.
The Clpchaperones 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 Clpchaperones and proteases in the humanmalariaparasitePlasmodiumfalciparum. 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 Clpchaperones 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.
Paloque, Lucie; Ramadani, Arba P; Mercereau-Puijalon, Odile; Augereau, Jean-Michel; Benoit-Vical, Françoise
Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinins, the most potent and fastest acting anti-malarials, threatens malaria elimination strategies. Artemisinin resistance is due to mutation of the PfK13 propeller domain and involves an unconventional mechanism based on a quiescence state leading to parasite recrudescence as soon as drug pressure is removed. The enhanced P. falciparum quiescence capacity of artemisinin-resistant parasites results from an increased ability to manage oxidative damage and an altered cell cycle gene regulation within a complex network involving the unfolded protein response, the PI3K/PI3P/AKT pathway, the PfPK4/eIF2α cascade and yet unidentified transcription factor(s), with minimal energetic requirements and fatty acid metabolism maintained in the mitochondrion and apicoplast. The detailed study of these mechanisms offers a way forward for identifying future intervention targets to fend off established artemisinin resistance.
Isolation and genetic characterization of Toxoplasma gondii from raccoons (Procyon lotor), cats (Felis domesticus), striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), black bear (Ursus americanus), and cougar (Puma concolor) from Canada.
Dubey, J P; Quirk, T; Pittt, J A; Sundar, N; Velmurugan, G V; Kwok, O C H; Leclair, D; Hill, R; Su, C
Viable Toxoplasma gondii was isolated by bioassay in mice from tissues of 2 feral cats (Felis domesticus), 2 raccoons (Procyon lotor), a skunk (Mephitis mephitis) trapped in remote locations in Manitoba, Canada, and a black bear (Ursus americanus) from Kuujjuaq, northern Quebec, Canada. Genotyping of these T. gondii isolates using polymorphisms at 10 nuclear markers including SAGI, SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1, and an apicoplast marker Apico revealed 4 genotypes. None of the isolates was clonal archetypal Types I, II, and III found in the United States. These results are in contrast with the Type II genotype that is widespread in domestic animals and humans throughout the United States and Europe. This is the first genotyping of T. gondii isolates from this part of North America.
Darius, Anne Kathrin; Mehlhorn, Heinz; Heydorn, Alfred Otto
Rhesus monkey kidney cell cultures were used to propagate tachyzoites of the NC-1 strain of Neospora caninum (syn. Hammondia heydorni). The infected cell cultures were incubated for 4-12 h in media containing 0, 1, 10 or 100 microg/ml of either toltrazuril or ponazuril. The effects were studied by light and electron microscopy. Drug dosages of at least 30 microg/ml were needed to eliminate the parasites. Ponazuril was found (with respect to the reduction of the number of parasites) to be less effective at dosages of 30 microg/ml compared to toltrazuril. However, the damage to the tachyzoites being incubated in 30 microg toltrazuril or ponazuril seen by electron microscopy was so significant that it was surely lethal. The initial damage occurred within the apicoplast and the tubular mitochondrion in all cases,thus destroying two of the most important cell organelles.
Tarun, Alice S; Vaughan, Ashley M; Kappe, Stefan H I
Fatty acids are essential components of membranes, and are also involved in cell signalling. Plasmodium, the parasite that causes malaria, scavenges fatty acids from its hosts. However, Plasmodium also possesses enzymes for a prokaryotic-like de novo fatty acid synthesis pathway, which resides in the apicoplast. Recent research has demonstrated that Plasmodium parasites depend on de novo fatty acid synthesis only for liver-stage development. This finding demonstrates that basic anabolic functions of Plasmodium parasites are not necessary for the growth and replication of every life cycle stage. We discuss the role of fatty acid metabolism in Plasmodium and why we believe that de novo fatty acid synthesis is only required for parasite late liver-stage development.
Preston, Mark D.
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.
AhYoung, Andrew P; Koehl, Antoine; Vizcarra, Christina L; Cascio, Duilio; Egea, Pascal F
The N-end rule pathway uses an evolutionarily conserved mechanism in bacteria and eukaryotes that marks proteins for degradation by ATP-dependent chaperones and proteases such as the Clp chaperones and proteases. Specific N-terminal amino acids (N-degrons) are sufficient to target substrates for degradation. In bacteria, the ClpS adaptor binds and delivers N-end rule substrates for their degradation upon association with the ClpA/P chaperone/protease. Here, we report the first crystal structure, solved at 2.7 Å resolution, of a eukaryotic homolog of bacterial ClpS from the malaria apicomplexan parasite Plasmodium falciparum (Pfal). Despite limited sequence identity, Plasmodium ClpS is very similar to bacterial ClpS. Akin to its bacterial orthologs, plasmodial ClpS harbors a preformed hydrophobic pocket whose geometry and chemical properties are compatible with the binding of N-degrons. However, while the N-degron binding pocket in bacterial ClpS structures is open and accessible, the corresponding pocket in Plasmodium ClpS is occluded by a conserved surface loop that acts as a latch. Despite the closed conformation observed in the crystal, we show that, in solution, Pfal-ClpS binds and discriminates peptides mimicking bona fide N-end rule substrates. The presence of an apicoplast targeting peptide suggests that Pfal-ClpS localizes to this plastid-like organelle characteristic of all Apicomplexa and hosting most of its Clp machinery. By analogy with the related ClpS1 from plant chloroplasts and cyanobacteria, Plasmodium ClpS likely functions in association with ClpC in the apicoplast. Our findings open new venues for the design of novel anti-malarial drugs aimed at disrupting parasite-specific protein quality control pathways. © 2016 The Protein Society.
Fleige, Tobias; Pfaff, Nils; Gross, Uwe; Bohne, Wolfgang
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.
Full Text Available Abstract Background The emergence of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to most anti-malarial compounds has highlighted the urgency to develop new drugs and to clarify the mechanisms of anti-malarial drugs currently used. Among them, doxycycline is used alone for malaria chemoprophylaxis or in combination with quinine or artemisinin derivatives for malaria treatment. The molecular mechanisms of doxycycline action in P. falciparum have not yet been clearly defined, particularly at the protein level. Methods A proteomic approach was used to analyse protein expression changes in the schizont stage of the malarial parasite P. falciparum following doxycycline treatment. A comparison of protein expression between treated and untreated protein samples was performed using two complementary proteomic approaches: two-dimensional fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE and isobaric tagging reagents for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ. Results After doxycycline treatment, 32 and 40 P. falciparum proteins were found to have significantly deregulated expression levels by 2D-DIGE and iTRAQ methods, respectively. Although some of these proteins have been already described as being deregulated by other drug treatments, numerous changes in protein levels seem to be specific to doxycycline treatment, which could perturb apicoplast metabolism. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR was performed to confirm this hypothesis. Conclusions In this study, a specific response to doxycycline treatment was distinguished and seems to involve mitochondrion and apicoplast organelles. These data provide a starting point for the elucidation of drug targets and the discovery of mechanisms of resistance to anti-malarial compounds.
Anna Vitlin Gruber
Full Text Available Human malaria is among the most ubiquitous and destructive tropical, parasitic diseases in the world today. The causative agent, Plasmodium falciparum, contains an unusual, essential organelle known as the apicoplast. Inhibition of this degenerate chloroplast results in second generation death of the parasite and is the mechanism by which antibiotics function in treating malaria. In order to better understand the biochemistry of this organelle, we have cloned a putative, 20 kDa, co-chaperonin protein, Pf-cpn20, which localizes to the apicoplast. Although this protein is homologous to the cpn20 that is found in plant chloroplasts, its ability to function as a co-chaperonin was questioned in the past. In the present study, we carried out a structural analysis of Pf-cpn20 using circular dichroism and analytical ultracentrifugation and then used two different approaches to investigate the ability of this protein to function as a co-chaperonin. In the first approach, we purified recombinant Pf-cpn20 and tested its ability to act as a co-chaperonin for GroEL in vitro, while in the second, we examined the ability of Pf-cpn20 to complement an E. coli depletion of the essential bacterial co-chaperonin GroES. Our results demonstrate that Pf-cpn20 is fully functional as a co-chaperonin in vitro. Moreover, the parasitic co-chaperonin is able to replace GroES in E. coli at both normal and heat-shock temperatures. Thus, Pf-cpn20 functions as a co-chaperonin in chaperonin-mediated protein folding. The ability of the malarial protein to function in E. coli suggests that this simple system can be used as a tool for further analyses of Pf-cpn20 and perhaps other chaperone proteins from P. falciparum.
El Bakkouri, Majida; 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
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. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Cletus A. Wezena
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.
Tang Girdwood, Sonya C; Nenortas, Elizabeth; Shapiro, Theresa A
Drug-resistant malaria poses a major public health problem throughout the world and the need for new antimalarial drugs is growing. The apicoplast, a chloroplast-like organelle essential for malaria parasite survival and with no counterpart in humans, offers an attractive target for selectively toxic new therapies. The apicoplast genome (plDNA) is a 35 kb circular DNA that is served by gyrase, a prokaryotic type II topoisomerase. Gyrase is poisoned by fluoroquinolone antibacterials that stabilize a catalytically inert ternary complex of enzyme, its plDNA substrate, and inhibitor. We used fluoroquinolones to study the gyrase and plDNA of Plasmodium falciparum. New methods for isolating and separating plDNA reveal four topologically different forms and permit a quantitative exam of perturbations that result from gyrase poisoning. In keeping with its role in DNA replication, gyrase is most abundant in late stages of the parasite lifecycle, but several lines of evidence indicate that even in these cells the enzyme is present in relatively low abundance: about 1 enzyme for every two plDNAs or a ratio of 1 gyrase: 70 kb DNA. For a spectrum of quinolones, correlation was generally good between antimalarial activity and gyrase poisoning, the putative molecular mechanism of drug action. However, in P. falciparum there is evidence for off-target toxicity, particularly for ciprofloxacin. These studies highlight the utility of the new methods and of fluoroquinolones as a tool for studying the in situ workings of gyrase and its plDNA substrate. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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
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
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.
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
Nkrumah, Louis J; Muhle, Rebecca A; Moura, Pedro A; Ghosh, Pallavi; Hatfull, Graham F; Jacobs, William R; Fidock, David A
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Zhang, Xiao-Xuan; Cong, Wei; Ma, Jian-Gang; Lou, Zhi-Long; Zhao, Quan; Meng, Qing-Feng; Qian, Ai-Dong; Zhu, Xing-Quan
Toxoplasma gondii can infect virtually all warm-blooded animals including foxes. However, little is known of the molecular epidemiology and genotypes of T. gondii infecting foxes in China. Therefore, the present study characterized T. gondii genotypes in foxes in China for the first time. During November 2014 to October 2015, brain tissue samples collected from 264 Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) in Jilin, Heilongjiang and Shandong provinces were used to detect the T. gondii B1 gene by a semi-nested PCR, and the positive samples were genotyped at 10 nuclear loci (i.e., SAG1, alternative SAG2, 5'-and 3'-SAG2, SAG3, L358, BTUB, c22-8, GRA6, c29-2, PK1) and an apicoplast locus (Apico) by multi-locus PCR-RFLP technology. Twenty-one (7.96%) samples from 264 foxes were positive for T. gondii B1 gene. T. gondii infection in male and female foxes was 7.14% and 8.70%, respectively. The highest infection rate (11.86%) was detected in foxes from Shandong, followed by foxes from Jilin (6.49%) and Heilongjiang (2.90%). Two genotypes (ToxoDB#9 and ToxoDB#10) were identified. This is the first genetic characterization of T. gondii from foxes in China, which provides basic data for the surveillance and control of T. gondii infection in foxes, other animals and humans. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Dellibovi-Ragheb, Teegan A; Jhun, Hugo; Goodman, Christopher D; Walters, Maroya S; Ragheb, Daniel R T; Matthews, Krista A; Rajaram, Krithika; Mishra, Satish; McFadden, Geoffrey I; Sinnis, Photini; Prigge, Sean T
Acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) is a biotin-dependent enzyme that is the target of several classes of herbicides. Malaria parasites contain a plant-like ACC, and this is the only protein predicted to be biotinylated in the parasite. We found that ACC is expressed in the apicoplast organelle in liver- and blood-stage malaria parasites; however, it is activated through biotinylation only in the liver stages. Consistent with this observation, deletion of the biotin ligase responsible for ACC biotinylation does not impede blood-stage growth, but results in late liver-stage developmental defects. Biotin depletion increases the severity of the developmental defects, demonstrating that parasite and host biotin metabolism are required for normal liver-stage progression. This finding may link the development of liver-stage malaria parasites to the nutritional status of the host, as neither the parasite nor the human host can synthesize biotin. Copyright © 2018 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.
Liu, Weimin; Sundararaman, Sesh A.; Loy, Dorothy E.; Learn, Gerald H.; Li, Yingying; Plenderleith, Lindsey J.; Ndjango, Jean-Bosco N.; Speede, Sheri; Atencia, Rebeca; Cox, Debby; Shaw, George M.; Ayouba, Ahidjo; Peeters, Martine; Rayner, Julian C.; Hahn, Beatrice H.; Sharp, Paul M.
Plasmodium falciparum, the major cause of malaria morbidity and mortality worldwide, is only distantly related to other human malaria parasites and has thus been placed in a separate subgenus, termed Laverania. Parasites morphologically similar to P. falciparum have been identified in African apes, but only one other Laverania species, Plasmodium reichenowi from chimpanzees, has been formally described. Although recent studies have pointed to the existence of additional Laverania species, their precise number and host associations remain uncertain, primarily because of limited sampling and a paucity of parasite sequences other than from mitochondrial DNA. To address this, we used limiting dilution polymerase chain reaction to amplify additional parasite sequences from a large number of chimpanzee and gorilla blood and fecal samples collected at two sanctuaries and 30 field sites across equatorial Africa. Phylogenetic analyses of more than 2,000 new sequences derived from the mitochondrial, nuclear, and apicoplast genomes revealed six divergent and well-supported clades within the Laverania parasite group. Although two of these clades exhibited deep subdivisions in phylogenies estimated from organelle gene sequences, these sublineages were geographically defined and not present in trees from four unlinked nuclear loci. This greatly expanded sequence data set thus confirms six, and not seven or more, ape Laverania species, of which P. reichenowi, Plasmodium gaboni, and Plasmodium billcollinsi only infect chimpanzees, whereas Plasmodium praefalciparum, Plasmodium adleri, and Pladmodium blacklocki only infect gorillas. The new sequence data also confirm the P. praefalciparum origin of human P. falciparum. PMID:27289102
Ramakrishnan, Srinivasan; Docampo, Melissa D.; MacRae, James I.; Ralton, Julie E.; Rupasinghe, Thusitha; McConville, Malcolm J.; Striepen, Boris
SUMMARY Apicomplexa are parasitic protozoa that cause important human diseases including malaria, cryptosporidiosis and toxoplasmosis. The replication of these parasites within their target host cell is dependent on both salvage as well as de novo synthesis of fatty acids. In T. gondii, fatty acid synthesis via the apicoplast-localized FASII is essential for pathogenesis, while the role of two other fatty acid biosynthetic complexes remains unclear. Here we demonstrate that the ER-localized fatty acid elongation (ELO) is essential for parasite growth. Conditional knock-down of the non-redundant hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydratase and enoyl-CoA reductase enzymes in the ELO pathway severely repressed intracellular parasite growth. 13C-glucose and 13C-acetate labeling and comprehensive lipidomic analyses of these mutants showed a selective defect in synthesis of unsaturated long and very long chain fatty acids (LCFAs and VLCFAs) and depletion of phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylethanolamine species containing unsaturated LCFAs and VLCFAs. This requirement for ELO pathway was by-passed by supplementing the media with specific fatty acids, indicating active, but inefficient import of host fatty acids. Our experiments highlight a gap between the fatty acid needs of the parasite and availability of specific fatty acids in the host cell that the parasite has to close using a dedicated synthesis and modification pathway. PMID:25825226
Ramakrishnan, Srinivasan; Docampo, Melissa D; MacRae, James I; Ralton, Julie E; Rupasinghe, Thusitha; McConville, Malcolm J; Striepen, Boris
Apicomplexa are parasitic protozoa that cause important human diseases including malaria, cryptosporidiosis and toxoplasmosis. The replication of these parasites within their target host cell is dependent on both salvage as well as de novo synthesis of fatty acids. In Toxoplasma gondii, fatty acid synthesis via the apicoplast-localized FASII is essential for pathogenesis, while the role of two other fatty acid biosynthetic complexes remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that the ER-localized fatty acid elongation (ELO) complexes are essential for parasite growth. Conditional knockdown of the nonredundant hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydratase and enoyl-CoA reductase enzymes in the ELO pathway severely repressed intracellular parasite growth. (13) C-glucose and (13) C-acetate labeling and comprehensive lipidomic analyses of these mutants showed a selective defect in synthesis of unsaturated long and very long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs and VLCFAs) and depletion of phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylethanolamine species containing unsaturated LCFAs and VLCFAs. This requirement for ELO pathway was bypassed by supplementing the media with specific fatty acids, indicating active but inefficient import of host fatty acids. Our experiments highlight a gap between the fatty acid needs of the parasite and availability of specific fatty acids in the host cell that the parasite has to close using a dedicated synthesis and modification pathway. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Hussain, Tahir; Yogavel, Manickam; Sharma, Amit
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.
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.
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
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.
Mura, Marie; Briolant, Sébastien; Donato, Damien; Volney, Béatrice; Pelleau, Stéphane; Musset, Lise; Legrand, Eric
In French Guiana, doxycycline is used for both chemoprophylaxis and the treatment of malaria. The presence of isolates with reduced ex vivo susceptibility to doxycycline in French Guiana makes it critical to identify any genetic determinants contributing to the chemosusceptibility level of Plasmodium falciparum to doxycycline, such as pfmdt and pftetQ, which were recently identified as potential molecular markers in African isolates. A Bayesian statistical approach was used to define different ex vivo doxycycline phenotypes. The pfmdt and pftetQ gene copy numbers were quantified by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction in 129 P. falciparum isolates collected between 2000 and 2010, and pftetQ, pfrps7, pfssurRNA, and pflsurRNA sequences were analysed after amplification by polymerase chain reaction. PftetQ and pfmdt copy numbers were not associated with reduced susceptibility to doxycycline in P. falciparum within French Guiana. Sequence analysis of the genes revealed five known single nucleotide polymorphisms. Three new SNPs were identified in the apicoplast ribosomal RNA long sub-unit (pflsurRNA): C740T, A1875C and A1875T. These polymorphisms were not associated with reduced chemosusceptibility to doxycycline. The present study does not validate pfmdt and pftetQ genes as molecular markers of decreased susceptibility to doxycycline in P. falciparum isolates in French Guiana.
Catherine S Sohn
Full Text Available Neospora caninum is an important veterinary pathogen that causes abortion in cattle and neuromuscular disease in dogs. Neospora has also generated substantial interest because it is an extremely close relative of the human pathogen Toxoplasma gondii, yet does not appear to infect humans. While for Toxoplasma there are a wide array of molecular tools and reagents available for experimental investigation, relatively few reagents exist for Neospora. To investigate the unique biological features of this parasite and exploit the recent sequencing of its genome, we have used an organelle isolation and monoclonal antibody approach to identify novel organellar proteins and develop a wide array of probes for subcellular localization. We raised a panel of forty-six monoclonal antibodies that detect proteins from the rhoptries, micronemes, dense granules, inner membrane complex, apicoplast, mitochondrion and parasite surface. A subset of the proteins was identified by immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry and reveal that we have identified and localized many of the key proteins involved in invasion and host interaction in Neospora. In addition, we identified novel secretory proteins not previously studied in any apicomplexan parasite. Thus, this organellar monoclonal antibody approach not only greatly enhances the tools available for Neospora cell biology, but also identifies novel components of the unique biological characteristics of this important veterinary pathogen.
Sohn, Catherine S.; Cheng, Tim T.; Drummond, Michael L.; Peng, Eric D.; Vermont, Sarah J.; Xia, Dong; Cheng, Stephen J.; Wastling, Jonathan M.; Bradley, Peter J.
Neospora caninum is an important veterinary pathogen that causes abortion in cattle and neuromuscular disease in dogs. Neospora has also generated substantial interest because it is an extremely close relative of the human pathogen Toxoplasma gondii, yet does not appear to infect humans. While for Toxoplasma there are a wide array of molecular tools and reagents available for experimental investigation, relatively few reagents exist for Neospora. To investigate the unique biological features of this parasite and exploit the recent sequencing of its genome, we have used an organelle isolation and monoclonal antibody approach to identify novel organellar proteins and develop a wide array of probes for subcellular localization. We raised a panel of forty-six monoclonal antibodies that detect proteins from the rhoptries, micronemes, dense granules, inner membrane complex, apicoplast, mitochondrion and parasite surface. A subset of the proteins was identified by immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry and reveal that we have identified and localized many of the key proteins involved in invasion and host interaction in Neospora. In addition, we identified novel secretory proteins not previously studied in any apicomplexan parasite. Thus, this organellar monoclonal antibody approach not only greatly enhances the tools available for Neospora cell biology, but also identifies novel components of the unique biological characteristics of this important veterinary pathogen. PMID:21483743
Andrabi, Syed Bilal Ahmad; Tahara, Michiru; Matsubara, Ryuma; Toyama, Tomoko; Aonuma, Hiroka; Sakakibara, Hitoshi; Suematsu, Makoto; Tanabe, Kazuyuki; Nozaki, Tomoyoshi; Nagamune, Kisaburo
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.
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.
Morlon-Guyot, Juliette; Francia, Maria E; Dubremetz, Jean-François; Daher, Wassim
Toxoplasma gondii is the causative agent of toxoplasmosis. The pathogenicity of this unicellular parasite is tightly linked to its ability to efficiently proliferate within its host. Tachyzoites, the fast dividing form of the parasite, divide by endodyogeny. This process involves a single round of DNA replication, closed nuclear mitosis, and assembly of two daughter cells within a mother. The successful completion of endodyogeny relies on the temporal and spatial coordination of a plethora of simultaneous events. It has been shown that the Toxoplasma centrosome serves as signaling hub which nucleates spindle microtubules during mitosis and organizes the scaffolding of daughter cells components during cytokinesis. In addition, the centrosome is essential for inheriting both the apicoplast (a chloroplast-like organelle) and the Golgi apparatus. A growing body of evidence supports the notion that the T. gondii centrosome diverges in protein composition, structure and organization from its counterparts in higher eukaryotes making it an attractive source of potentially druggable targets. Here, we summarize the current knowledge on T. gondii centrosomal proteins and extend the putative centrosomal protein repertoire by in silico identification of mammalian centrosomal protein orthologs. We propose a working model for the organization and architecture of the centrosome in Toxoplasma parasites. Experimental validation of our proposed model will uncover how each predicted protein translates into the biology of centrosome, cytokinesis, karyokinesis, and organelle inheritance in Toxoplasma parasites. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Jackson, Allison J; Clucas, Caroline; Mamczur, Nicola J; Ferguson, David J; Meissner, Markus
Apicomplexans are obligate intracellular parasites that invade the host cell in an active process that relies on unique secretory organelles (micronemes, rhoptries and dense granules) localized at the apical tip of these highly polarized eukaryotes. In order for the contents of these specialized organelles to reach their final destination, these proteins are sorted post-Golgi and it has been speculated that they pass through endosomal-like compartments (ELCs), where they undergo maturation. Here, we characterize a Toxoplasma gondii homologue of Syntaxin 6 (TgStx6), a well-established marker for the early endosomes and trans Golgi network (TGN) in diverse eukaryotes. Indeed, TgStx6 appears to have a role in the retrograde transport between ELCs, the TGN and the Golgi, because overexpression of TgStx6 results in the development of abnormally shaped parasites with expanded ELCs, a fragmented Golgi and a defect in inner membrane complex maturation. Interestingly, other organelles such as the micronemes, rhoptries and the apicoplast are not affected, establishing the TGN as a major sorting compartment where several transport pathways intersect. It therefore appears that Toxoplasma has retained a plant-like secretory pathway. PMID:23962112
Subramanian, Gowtham; Belekar, Meenakshi A; Shukla, Anurag; Tong, Jie Xin; Sinha, Ameya; Chu, Trang T T; Kulkarni, Akshay S; Preiser, Peter R; Reddy, D Srinivasa; Tan, Kevin S W; Shanmugam, Dhanasekaran; Chandramohanadas, Rajesh
The Malaria Box collection includes 400 chemically diverse small molecules with documented potency against malaria parasite growth, but the underlying modes of action are largely unknown. Using complementary phenotypic screens against Plasmodium falciparum and Toxoplasma gondii , we report phenotype-specific hits based on inhibition of overall parasite growth, apicoplast segregation, and egress or host invasion, providing hitherto unavailable insights into the possible mechanisms affected. First, the Malaria Box library was screened against tachyzoite stage T. gondii and the half-maximal effective concentrations (EC 50 s) of molecules showing ≥80% growth inhibition at 10 µM were determined. Comparison of the EC 50 s for T. gondii and P. falciparum identified a subset of 24 molecules with nanomolar potency against both parasites. Thirty molecules that failed to induce acute growth inhibition in T. gondii tachyzoites in a 2-day assay caused delayed parasite death upon extended exposure, with at least three molecules interfering with apicoplast segregation during daughter cell formation. Using flow cytometry and microscopy-based examinations, we prioritized 26 molecules with the potential to inhibit host cell egress/invasion during asexual developmental stages of P. falciparum . None of the inhibitors affected digestive vacuole integrity, ruling out a mechanism mediated by broadly specific protease inhibitor activity. Interestingly, five of the plasmodial egress inhibitors inhibited ionophore-induced egress of T. gondii tachyzoites. These findings highlight the advantage of comparative and targeted phenotypic screens in related species as a means to identify lead molecules with a conserved mode of action. Further work on target identification and mechanism analysis will facilitate the development of antiparasitic compounds with cross-species efficacy. IMPORTANCE The phylum Apicomplexa includes many human and animal pathogens, such as Plasmodium falciparum
AhYoung, Andrew P; Koehl, Antoine; Cascio, Duilio; Egea, Pascal F
Caseinolytic chaperones and proteases (Clp) belong to the AAA+ protein superfamily and are part of the protein quality control machinery in cells. The eukaryotic parasite Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of malaria, has evolved an elaborate network of Clp proteins including two distinct ClpB ATPases. ClpB1 and ClpB2 are involved in different aspects of parasitic proteostasis. ClpB1 is present in the apicoplast, a parasite-specific and plastid-like organelle hosting various metabolic pathways necessary for parasite growth. ClpB2 localizes to the parasitophorous vacuole membrane where it drives protein export as core subunit of a parasite-derived protein secretion complex, the Plasmodium Translocon of Exported proteins (PTEX); this process is central to parasite virulence and survival in the human host. The functional associations of these two chaperones with parasite-specific metabolism and protein secretion make them prime drug targets. ClpB proteins function as unfoldases and disaggregases and share a common architecture consisting of four domains-a variable N-terminal domain that binds different protein substrates, followed by two highly conserved catalytic ATPase domains, and a C-terminal domain. Here, we report and compare the first crystal structures of the N terminal domains of ClpB1 and ClpB2 from Plasmodium and analyze their molecular surfaces. Solution scattering analysis of the N domain of ClpB2 shows that the average solution conformation is similar to the crystalline structure. These structures represent the first step towards the characterization of these two malarial chaperones and the reconstitution of the entire PTEX to aid structure-based design of novel anti-malarial drugs. © 2015 The Protein Society.
Pandey, Swaroop Kumar; Dwivedi, Hemlata; Singh, Sarika; Siddiqui, Waseem Ahmad; Tripathi, Renu
Quinine (QN) and quinidine (QND) have been commonly used as effective and affordable antimalarials for over many years. Quinine primarily is used for severe malaria treatment. However, plasmodia resistance to these drugs and poor patient compliance limits their administration to the patients. The declining sensitivity of the parasite to the drugs can thus be dealt with by combining with a suitable partner drug. In the present study QN/QND was assessed in combination with clarithromycin (CLTR), an antibiotic of the macrolide family. In vitro interactions of these drugs with CLTR against Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) have shown a synergistic response with mean sum fractional inhibitory concentrations (ΣFICs) of ≤1 (0.85 ± 0.11 for QN + CLTR and 0.64 ± 0.09 for QND + CLTR) for all the tested combination ratios. Analysis of this combination of QN/QND with CLTR in mouse model against Plasmodium yoelii nigeriensis multi-drug resistant (P. yoelii nigeriensis MDR) showed that a dose of 200 mg/kg/day for 4 days of QN or QND produces 100% curative effect with 200 mg/kg/day for 7 days and 150 mg/kg/day for 7 days CLTR respectively, while the same dose of individual drugs could produce only up to a maximum 20% cure. It is postulated that CLTR, a CYP3A4 inhibitor, might have caused reduced CYP3A4 activity leading to increased plasma level of the QN/QND to produce enhanced antimalarial activity. Further, parasite apicoplast disruption by CLTR synergies the antimalarial action of QN and QND.
Zocher, Kathleen; Fritz-Wolf, Karin; Kehr, Sebastian; Fischer, Marina; Rahlfs, Stefan; Becker, Katja
Glutamate dehydrogenases (GDHs) play key roles in cellular redox, amino acid, and energy metabolism, thus representing potential targets for pharmacological interventions. Here we studied the functional network provided by the three known glutamate dehydrogenases of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. The recombinant production of the previously described PfGDH1 as hexahistidyl-tagged proteins was optimized. Additionally, PfGDH2 was cloned, recombinantly produced, and characterized. Like PfGDH1, PfGDH2 is an NADP(H)-dependent enzyme with a specific activity comparable to PfGDH1 but with slightly higher K(m) values for its substrates. The three-dimensional structure of hexameric PfGDH2 was solved to 3.1 Å resolution. The overall structure shows high similarity with PfGDH1 but with significant differences occurring at the subunit interface. As in mammalian GDH1, in PfGDH2 the subunit-subunit interactions are mainly assisted by hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic interactions, whereas in PfGDH1 these contacts are mediated by networks of salt bridges and hydrogen bonds. In accordance with this, the known bovine GDH inhibitors hexachlorophene, GW5074, and bithionol were more effective on PfGDH2 than on PfGDH1. Subcellular localization was determined for all three plasmodial GDHs by fusion with the green fluorescent protein. Based on our data, PfGDH1 and PfGDH3 are cytosolic proteins whereas PfGDH2 clearly localizes to the apicoplast, a plastid-like organelle specific for apicomplexan parasites. This study provides new insights into the structure and function of GDH isoenzymes of P. falciparum, which represent potential targets for the development of novel antimalarial drugs. Copyright Â© 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Kirillova, Viktorija; Prakas, Petras; Calero-Bernal, Rafael; Gavarāne, Inese; Fernández-García, José Luis; Martínez-González, Manuel; Rudaitytė-Lukošienė, Eglė; Martínez-Estéllez, Miguel Ángel Habela; Butkauskas, Dalius; Kirjušina, Muza
Typically, carnivores serve as definitive hosts for Sarcocystis spp. parasites; currently, their role as intermediate hosts is being elucidated. The present study aimed to identify and molecularly characterize Sarcocystis cysts detected in striated muscle of red foxes from different populations in Latvia, Lithuania and Spain. Muscle samples from 411 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and 269 racoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) from Latvia, 41 red foxes from Lithuania and 22 red foxes from Spain were examined for the presence of Sarcocystis sarcocysts by light microscopy (LM). Sarcocystis spp. were identified by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and molecular biology techniques. Sarcocystis cysts were detected in 11/411 (2.7%) Latvian, 3/41 (7.3%) Lithuanian, and 6/22 (27.3%) Spanish red foxes, however, cysts were not observed in the muscles of racoon dogs. Based on LM, TEM, 18S rDNA, 28S rDNA, ITS1, cox1 and rpoB sequences, Sarcocystis arctica and Sarcocystis lutrae cysts were identified in red fox muscles from Latvia and Lithuania, whereas only S. arctica was detected in Spain. The 18S rDNA, 28S rDNA and ITS1 sequences from the 21 isolates of S. arctica from Latvia, Lithuania and Spain were identical. By contrast, two and four haplotypes were determined based on mtDNA cox1 and apicoplast rpoB sequences, respectively. Polymorphisms were not detected between the two isolates of S. lutrae from Latvia and Lithuania. Based on phylogenetic results, S. arctica and S. lutrae were most closely related to Sarcocystis spp. using predatory mammals as intermediate hosts and to Sarcocystis species with a bird-bird life-cycle. Based on current knowledge, the red fox and Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) could act as intermediate host for the same two Sarcocystis species. Molecular results suggest the existence of two genetic lineages of S. arctica, and such divergence relies on its geographical distribution but not on their intermediate host species.
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.
Upeksha L Rathnapala
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.
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.
Rathnapala, Upeksha L; Goodman, Christopher D; McFadden, Geoffrey I
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.
Cao, Shinuo; Du, Nali; Chen, Heming; Pang, Yu; Zhang, Zhaoxia; Zheng, Jun; Jia, Honglin
Caseinolytic peptidase B (ClpB) plays a pivotal role in suppressing and reversing protein aggregation. Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular parasitic protozoan that infects a wide variety of mammals and birds and therefore is exposed to a broad range of living condition. We screened ToxoDB (http://ToxoDB.org) and identified 10 putative T. gondii genes encoding members of the Clp superfamily of caseinolytic proteases and chaperones. Of these, we focused on characterizing the Class I ATP-dependent molecular chaperones Tg ClpB1, Tg ClpB2, and Tg ClpB3. We found that Tg ClpB1, the most divergent of the five T. gondii Class I Clp ATPases, is cytoplasmic, Tg ClpB2 is found in the mitochondria of the parasites, and Tg ClpB3 is a ClpB with novel apicoplast localization. Knockout strains of Tg ClpB1 and Tg ClpB2 were established by CRISPR/Cas9 mutagenesis, and their complementing strains were constructed with FLAG-tag. Although knockout of Tg ClpB1 or Tg ClpB2 did not affect growth under normal circumstances, Tg ClpB1 was required for T. gondii thermotolerance. The growth, replication, and invasion capabilities of Tg ClpB1-deficient mutants were significantly inhibited after extracellular parasites were pretreated at 45°C. Moreover, Tg ClpB1 were observed at the poles of the Δ Tg ClpB1 FLAG-tagged strain treated at 42°C.
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. PMID:22356874
Valkiūnas, Gediminas; Ilgūnas, Mikas; Bukauskaitė, Dovilė; Žiegytė, Rita; Bernotienė, Rasa; Jusys, Vytautas; Eigirdas, Vytautas; Fragner, Karin; Weissenböck, Herbert; Iezhova, Tatjana A
Malaria parasite Plasmodium (Novyella) delichoni n. sp. (Haemosporida, Plasmodiidae) was found in a widespread Eurasian songbird, the common house martin Delichon urbicum (Hirundinidae). It is described based on the morphology of its blood stages and segments of the mitochondrial cytochrome b and apicoplast genes, which can be used for molecular identification of this species. Erythrocytic meronts and gametocytes are strictly nucleophilic, and mature gametocytes possess pigment granules of markedly variable size, including large ones (1 μm in length). Due to these features, P. delichoni can be readily distinguished from all described species of avian malaria parasites belonging to subgenus Novyella. Additionally, mature erythrocytic merozoites contain a dense clump of chromatin, a rare character in avian malaria parasites. Erythrocytic merogony is asynchronous. Illustrations of blood stages of the new species are given, and phylogenetic analysis identifies DNA lineages closely related to this parasite. Domestic canary Serinus canaria and Eurasian siskin Carduelis spinus were infected after subinoculation of infected blood obtained from the house martin. Parasitemia was long lasting in both these hosts, but it was high (up to 70 %) in Eurasian siskins and low (up to 1 %) in canaries. Mortality was not observed, and histological examination and chromogenic in situ hybridisation did not reveal secondary exoerythrocytic meronts (phanerozoites) in the exposed birds. It is likely that persistence of this infection occurs due to long-lasting parasitemia in avian hosts. Sporogony was abortive in mosquitoes Culex pipiens pipiens form molestus, Culex quinquefasciatus and Aedes aegypti at gametogenesis or ookinete stages. The new species is absent from juvenile birds at breeding sites in Europe, indicating that transmission occurs at African wintering grounds.
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
Chavatte, Jean-Marc; Tan, Sarah Bee Hui; Snounou, Georges; Lin, Raymond Tzer Pin Valentine
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