Arisue, Nobuko; Hashimoto, Tetsuo
The phylum Apicomplexa includes many parasitic genera of medical and veterinary importance including Plasmodium (causative agent of malaria), Toxoplasma (toxoplasmosis), and Babesia (babesiosis). Most of the apicomplexan parasites possess a unique, essential organelle, the apicoplast, which is a plastid without photosynthetic ability. Although the apicoplast is considered to have evolved through secondary endosymbiosis of a red alga into the common ancestral cell of apicomplexans, its evolutionary history has been under debate until recently. The apicoplast has a genome around 30-40 kb in length. Repertoire and arrangement of the apicoplast genome-encoded genes differ among apicomplexan genera, although within the genus Plasmodium these are almost conserved. Genes in the apicoplast genome may be useful markers for Plasmodium phylogeny, because these are single copy (except for the inverted repeat region) and may have more phylogenetic signal than the mitochondrial genome that have been most commonly used for Plasmodium phylogeny. This review describes recent studies concerning the evolutionary origin of the apicoplast, presents evolutionary comparison of the primary structures of apicoplast genomes from apicomplexan parasites, and summarizes recent findings of malaria phylogeny based on apicoplast genome-encoded genes.
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
Malaria is a life-threatening tropical disease, caused by the intracellular parasite Plasmodium falciparum. The World Health Organization counts malaria as one of the top ten causes of worldwide death. The unavailability of a successful malaria vaccine and the ever-increasing instances of drug resistance in the malaria parasite demand the discovery of new targets within P. falciparum for the development of next generation antimalarials. Fortunately, all apicomplexan parasites, including P. falciparum harbor a relict, non-photosynthetic plastid known as the apicoplast. The apicoplast is a semi-autonomous organelle within P. falciparum containing a 35kb circular genome. Despite a genome of its own, majority of the apicoplast proteins are encoded by the parasite nucleus and imported into the apicoplast. The organelle has been shown to be essential to P. falciparum survival and the loss the apicoplast manifests as a 'delayed death' response in the parasite. The apicoplast has evolved out of cyanobacteria in a complex, two step endosymbiotic event. As a result the architecture and the gene expression machinery of the apicoplast is quite bacteria-like and is susceptible to a wide range of antibiotics such as fosmidomycin, tetracycline, azithromycin, clindamycin and triclosan. The biosynthetic pathways for isoprenoids, fatty acids and heme operate within the malaria apicoplast, making the organelle an excellent target for drug development. The review focuses on the evolution, biology and the essentiality of the apicoplast within the malaria parasite and discusses some of the recent achievements towards the design and discovery of apicoplast targeted antimalarial compounds.
Full Text Available Apicoplasts are vestigial plastids in apicomplexan parasites like Plasmodium, the causative agent of malaria. Apicomplexan parasites are dependant on their apicoplasts for synthesis of various molecules that they are unable to scavenge in sufficient quantity from their host, which makes apicoplasts attractive drug targets. Proteins known as plastid phosphate translocators (pPTs are embedded in the outer apicoplast membrane and are responsible for the import of carbon, energy and reducing power to drive anabolic synthesis in the organelle. We investigated how a pPT is targeted into the outer apicoplast membrane of the human malaria parasite P. falciparum. We showed that a transmembrane domain is likely to act as a recessed signal anchor to direct the protein into the endomembrane system, and that a tyrosine in the cytosolic N-terminus of the protein is essential for targeting, but one or more, as yet unidentified, factors are also essential to direct the protein into the outer apicoplast membrane.
Goodman, Christopher D.; McFadden, Geoffrey I.
Apicoplasts are vestigial plastids in apicomplexan parasites like Plasmodium, the causative agent of malaria. Apicomplexan parasites are dependant on their apicoplasts for synthesis of various molecules that they are unable to scavenge in sufficient quantity from their host, which makes apicoplasts attractive drug targets. Proteins known as plastid phosphate translocators (pPTs) are embedded in the outer apicoplast membrane and are responsible for the import of carbon, energy and reducing power to drive anabolic synthesis in the organelle. We investigated how a pPT is targeted into the outer apicoplast membrane of the human malaria parasite P. falciparum. We showed that a transmembrane domain is likely to act as a recessed signal anchor to direct the protein into the endomembrane system, and that a tyrosine in the cytosolic N-terminus of the protein is essential for targeting, but one or more, as yet unidentified, factors are also essential to direct the protein into the outer apicoplast membrane. PMID:27442138
Arisue, Nobuko; Hashimoto, Tetsuo; Mitsui, Hideya; Palacpac, Nirianne M Q; Kaneko, Akira; Kawai, Satoru; Hasegawa, Masami; Tanabe, Kazuyuki; Horii, Toshihiro
Apicoplast, a nonphotosynthetic plastid derived from secondary symbiotic origin, is essential for the survival of malaria parasites of the genus Plasmodium. Elucidation of the evolution of the apicoplast genome in Plasmodium species is important to better understand the functions of the organelle. However, the complete apicoplast genome is available for only the most virulent human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Here, we obtained the near-complete apicoplast genome sequences from eight Plasmodium species that infect a wide variety of vertebrate hosts and performed structural and phylogenetic analyses. We found that gene repertoire, gene arrangement, and other structural attributes were highly conserved. Phylogenetic reconstruction using 30 protein-coding genes of the apicoplast genome inferred, for the first time, a close relationship between P. ovale and rodent parasites. This close relatedness was robustly supported using multiple evolutionary assumptions and models. The finding suggests that an ancestral host switch occurred between rodent and human Plasmodium parasites.
Full Text Available Apicomplexan parasites are responsible for numerous important human diseases including toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidiosis, and most importantly malaria. There is a constant need for new antimalarials, and one of most keenly pursued drug targets is an ancient algal endosymbiont, the apicoplast. The apicoplast is essential for parasite survival, and several aspects of its metabolism and maintenance have been validated as targets of anti-parasitic drug treatment. Most apicoplast proteins are nuclear encoded and have to be imported into the organelle. Recently, a protein translocon typically required for endoplasmic reticulum associated protein degradation (ERAD has been proposed to act in apicoplast protein import. Here, we show ubiquitylation to be a conserved and essential component of this process. We identify apicoplast localized ubiquitin activating, conjugating and ligating enzymes in Toxoplasma gondii and Plasmodium falciparum and observe biochemical activity by in vitro reconstitution. Using conditional gene ablation and complementation analysis we link this activity to apicoplast protein import and parasite survival. Our studies suggest ubiquitylation to be a mechanistic requirement of apicoplast protein import independent to the proteasomal degradation pathway.
Solomon Tesfaye; Bhanu Prakash; Prati Pal Singh
The emergence of malaria parasite strains resistant to practically all the antimalarial drugs in clinical use is now making itnecessary to discover and develop both new antimalarial drugs and treatments. Recent advances in molecular techniques along withthe availability of genome sequence ofPlasmodiumfalciparum may provide a wide range of novel targets in metabolic pathways likeisoprenoid biosynthesis, fatty acid biosynthesis and heme biosynthesis in the apicoplast of Plasmodiurn. On the other hand, thecombination therapy approach （currently used to retard the selection of parasite strains resistant to individual components of acombination of drugs） has proved to be a success in the combination of sulphadoxine and pyrimethamine, which targets two differentsteps in the folate pathway of malaria parasite. However, after the success of this therapeutic combination, the efficacy of othercombinations of drugs which target different enzymes in a particular metabolic pathway has, apparently, not been reported. Therefore,herein, we review various drug targets so far discovered in apicoplast-related anabolic pathways, especially, with a sharper focus onthe possibility to target more than one enzyme at a time in a particular metabolic pathway of malaria parasites.
Full Text Available Calcium is a universal second messenger that plays an important role in regulatory processes in eukaryotic cells. To understand calcium-dependent signaling in malaria parasites, we analyzed transcriptional responses of Plasmodium falciparum to two calcium ionophores (A23187 and ionomycin that cause redistribution of intracellular calcium within the cytoplasm. While ionomycin induced a specific transcriptional response defined by up- or downregulation of a narrow set of genes, A23187 caused a developmental arrest in the schizont stage. In addition, we observed a dramatic decrease of mRNA levels of the transcripts encoded by the apicoplast genome during the exposure of P. falciparum to both calcium ionophores. Neither of the ionophores caused any disruptions to the DNA replication or the overall apicoplast morphology. This suggests that the mRNA downregulation reflects direct inhibition of the apicoplast gene transcription. Next, we identify a nuclear encoded protein with a calcium binding domain (EF-hand that is localized to the apicoplast. Overexpression of this protein (termed PfACBP1 in P. falciparum cells mediates an increased resistance to the ionophores which suggests its role in calcium-dependent signaling within the apicoplast. Our data indicate that the P. falciparum apicoplast requires calcium-dependent signaling that involves a novel protein PfACBP1.
Seliverstov, Alexandr V; Zverkov, Oleg A; Istomina, Svetlana N; Pirogov, Sergey A; Kitsis, Philip S
In general, the mechanism of protein translocation through the apicoplast membrane requires a specific extension of a functionally important region of the apicoplast-targeted proteins. The corresponding signal peptides were detected in many apicomplexans but not in the majority of apicoplast-targeted proteins in Toxoplasma gondii. In T. gondii signal peptides are either much diverged or their extension region is processed, which in either case makes the situation different from other studied apicomplexans. We propose a statistic method to compare extensions of the functionally important regions of apicoplast-targeted proteins. More specifically, we provide a comparison of extension lengths of orthologous apicoplast-targeted proteins in apicomplexan parasites. We focus on results obtained for the model species T. gondii, Neospora caninum, and Plasmodium falciparum. With our method, cross species comparisons demonstrate that, in average, apicoplast-targeted protein extensions in T. gondii are 1.5-fold longer than in N. caninum and 2-fold longer than in P. falciparum. Extensions in P. falciparum less than 87 residues in size are longer than the corresponding extensions in N. caninum and, reversely, are shorter if they exceed 88 residues.
Milton, Morgan E.; Choe, Jun-yong; Honzatko, Richard B.; Nelson, Scott W.
Infection by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum is the leading cause of malaria in humans. The parasite has a unique and essential plastid-like organelle called the apicoplast. The apicoplast contains a genome that undergoes replication and repair through the action of a replicative polymerase (apPOL). apPOL has no direct orthologs in mammalian polymerases and is therefore an attractive antimalarial drug target. No structural information exists for apPOL, and the Klenow fragment of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I, which is its closest structural homolog, shares only 28% sequence identity. Here, conditions for the crystallization of and preliminary X-ray diffraction data from crystals of P. falciparum apPOL are reported. Data complete to 3.5 Å resolution were collected from a single crystal (2 × 2 × 5 µm) using a 5 µm beam. The space group P6522 (unit-cell parameters a = b = 141.8, c = 149.7 Å, α = β = 90, γ = 120°) was confirmed by molecular replacement. Refinement is in progress. PMID:25760711
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.
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.
Laine, Larissa M; Biddau, Marco; Byron, Olwyn; Müller, Sylke
PDC (pyruvate dehydrogenase complex) is a multi-enzyme complex comprising an E1 (pyruvate decarboxylase), an E2 (dihydrolipomide acetyltransferase) and an E3 (dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase). PDC catalyses the decarboxylation of pyruvate and forms acetyl-CoA and NADH. In the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, the single PDC is located exclusively in the apicoplast. Plasmodium PDC is essential for parasite survival in the mosquito vector and for late liver stage development in the human host, suggesting its suitability as a target for intervention strategies against malaria. Here, PfaE3 (P. falciparum apicoplast E3) was recombinantly expressed and characterized. Biochemical parameters were comparable with those determined for E3 from other organisms. A homology model for PfaE3 reveals an extra anti-parallel β-strand at the position where human E3BP (E3-binding protein) interacts with E3; a parasite-specific feature that may be exploitable for drug discovery against PDC. To assess the biological role of Pfae3, it was deleted from P. falciparum and although the mutants are viable, they displayed a highly synchronous growth phenotype during intra-erythrocytic development. The mutants also showed changes in the expression of some mitochondrial and antioxidant proteins suggesting that deletion of Pfae3 impacts on the parasite's metabolic function with downstream effects on the parasite's redox homoeostasis and cell cycle.
Mailu, Boniface M; Li, Ling; Arthur, Jen; Nelson, Todd M; Ramasamy, Gowthaman; Fritz-Wolf, Karin; Becker, Katja; Gardner, Malcolm J
The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum apicoplast indirect aminoacylation pathway utilizes a non-discriminating glutamyl-tRNA synthetase to synthesize Glu-tRNA(Gln) and a glutaminyl-tRNA amidotransferase to convert Glu-tRNA(Gln) to Gln-tRNA(Gln). Here, we show that Plasmodium falciparum and other apicomplexans possess a unique heterodimeric glutamyl-tRNA 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-tRNA(Gln) to Gln-tRNA(Gln) 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.
Mailu, Boniface M.; Li, Ling; Arthur, Jen; Nelson, Todd M.; Ramasamy, Gowthaman; Fritz-Wolf, Karin; Becker, Katja; Gardner, Malcolm J.
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 glutamyl-tRNA 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. PMID:26318454
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.
Full Text Available The membrane occupation and recognition nexus protein 1 (MORN1 is highly conserved among apicomplexan parasites and is associated with several structures that have a role in cell division. Here we dissected the role of MORN1 using the relatively simple budding process of Toxoplasma gondii as a model. Ablation of MORN1 in a conditional null mutant resulted in pronounced defects suggesting a central role for MORN1 in apicoplast segregation and in daughter cell budding. Lack of MORN1 resulted in double-headed parasites. These Janus-headed parasites form two complete apical complexes but fail to assemble a basal complex. Moreover, these parasites were capable of undergoing several more budding rounds resulting in the formation of up to 16-headed parasites conjoined at the basal end. Despite this segregation defect, the mother's cytoskeleton was completely disassembled in every budding round. Overall this argues that successful completion of the budding is not required for cell cycle progression. None of the known basal complex components, including a set of recently identified inner membrane complex (IMC proteins, localized correctly in these multi-headed parasites. These data suggest that MORN1 is essential for assembly of the basal complex, and that lack of the basal complex abolishes the contractile capacity assigned to the basal complex late in daughter formation. Consistent with this hypothesis we observe that MORN1 mutants fail to efficiently constrict and divide the apicoplast. We used the null background provided by the mutant to dissect the function of subdomains of the MORN1 protein. This demonstrated that deletion of a single MORN domain already prevented the function of MORN1 whereas a critical role for the short linker between MORN domains 6 and 7 was identified. In conclusion, MORN1 is required for basal complex assembly and loss of MORN1 results in defects in apicoplast division and daughter segregation.
朱新宇; 张瑶; 周鸣鸣
Martins-Duarte, Erica S.; Dubar, Faustine; Lawton, Philippe; França da Silva, Cristiane; C. Soeiro, Maria de Nazaré; de Souza, Wanderley; Biot, Christophe; Vommaro, Rossiane C.
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 show
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.
Pala, Zarna Rajeshkumar; Saxena, Vishal; Saggu, Gagandeep Singh; Yadav, Sushil Kumar; Pareek, R P; Kochar, Sanjay Kumar; Kochar, Dhanpat Kumar; Garg, Shilpi
Iron-sulfur (Fe-S) clusters are utilized as prosthetic groups in all living organisms for diverse range of cellular processes including electron transport in respiration and photosynthesis, sensing of ambient conditions, regulation of gene expression and catalysis. In Plasmodium, two Fe-S cluster biogenesis pathways are reported, of which the Suf pathway in the apicoplast has been shown essential for the erythrocytic stages of the parasite. While the initial components of this pathway detailing the sulfur mobilization have been elucidated, the components required for the assembly and transfer of Fe-S clusters are not reported from the parasite. In Escherichia coli, SufB acts as a scaffold protein and SufA traffics the assembled Fe-S cluster from SufB to target apo-proteins. However, in Plasmodium, the homologs of these proteins are yet to be characterized for their function. Here, we report a putative SufA protein from Plasmodium vivax with signature motifs of A-type scaffold proteins, which is evolutionarily conserved. The presence of the [Fe4S4](3+) cluster under reduced conditions was confirmed by UV-visible and EPR spectroscopy and the interaction of these clusters with the conserved cysteine residues of chains A and B of PvSufA, validates its existence as a dimer, similar to that in E. coli. The H-bond interactions at the PvSufA-SufB interface demonstrate SufA as a scaffold protein in conjunction with SufB for the pre-assembly of Fe-S clusters and their transfer to the target proteins. Co-localization of the protein to the apicoplast further provides an experimental evidence of a functional scaffold protein SufA for the biogenesis of Fe-S clusters in apicoplast of Plasmodium.
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
Mitchell Sarah L
Full Text Available Abstract Background The folate pathway enzyme serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT converts serine to glycine and 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate and is essential for the acquisition of one-carbon units for subsequent transfer reactions. 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate is used by thymidylate synthase to convert dUMP to dTMP for DNA synthesis. In Plasmodium falciparum an enzymatically functional SHMT (PfSHMTc and a related, apparently inactive isoform (PfSHMTm are found, encoded by different genes. Here, patterns of localization of the two isoforms during the parasite erythrocytic cycle are investigated. Methods Polyclonal antibodies were raised to PfSHMTc and PfSHMTm, and, together with specific markers for the mitochondrion and apicoplast, were employed in quantitative confocal fluorescence microscopy of blood-stage parasites. Results As well as the expected cytoplasmic occupancy of PfSHMTc during all stages, localization into the mitochondrion and apicoplast occurred in a stage-specific manner. Although early trophozoites lacked visible organellar PfSHMTc, a significant percentage of parasites showed such fluorescence during the mid-to-late trophozoite and schizont stages. In the case of the mitochondrion, the majority of parasites in these stages at any given time showed no marked PfSHMTc fluorescence, suggesting that its occupancy of this organelle is of limited duration. PfSHMTm showed a distinctly more pronounced mitochondrial location through most of the erythrocytic cycle and GFP-tagging of its N-terminal region confirmed the predicted presence of a mitochondrial signal sequence. Within the apicoplast, a majority of mitotic schizonts showed a marked concentration of PfSHMTc, whose localization in this organelle was less restricted than for the mitochondrion and persisted from the late trophozoite to the post-mitotic stages. PfSHMTm showed a broadly similar distribution across the cycle, but with a distinctive punctate accumulation towards
Garg, Aprajita; Wesolowski, Donna; Alonso, Dulce; Deitsch, Kirk W; Ben Mamoun, Choukri; Altman, Sidney
Identification and genetic validation of new targets from available genome sequences are critical steps toward the development of new potent and selective antimalarials. However, no methods are currently available for large-scale functional analysis of the Plasmodium falciparum genome. Here we present evidence for successful use of morpholino oligomers (MO) to mediate degradation of target mRNAs or to inhibit RNA splicing or translation of several genes of P. falciparum involved in chloroquine transport, apicoplast biogenesis, and phospholipid biosynthesis. Consistent with their role in the parasite life cycle, down-regulation of these essential genes resulted in inhibition of parasite development. We show that a MO conjugate that targets the chloroquine-resistant transporter PfCRT is effective against chloroquine-sensitive and -resistant parasites, causes enlarged digestive vacuoles, and renders chloroquine-resistant strains more sensitive to chloroquine. Similarly, we show that a MO conjugate that targets the PfDXR involved in apicoplast biogenesis inhibits parasite growth and that this defect can be rescued by addition of isopentenyl pyrophosphate. MO-based gene regulation is a viable alternative approach to functional analysis of the P. falciparum genome.
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.
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.
Eickel, Nina; Kaiser, Gesine; Prado, Monica; Burda, Paul-Christian; Roelli, Matthias; Stanway, Rebecca R; Heussler, Volker T
Analyzing molecular determinants of Plasmodium parasite cell death is a promising approach for exploring new avenues in the fight against malaria. Three major forms of cell death (apoptosis, necrosis and autophagic cell death) have been described in multicellular organisms but which cell death processes exist in protozoa is still a matter of debate. Here we suggest that all three types of cell death occur in Plasmodium liver-stage parasites. Whereas typical molecular markers for apoptosis and necrosis have not been found in the genome of Plasmodium parasites, we identified genes coding for putative autophagy-marker proteins and thus concentrated on autophagic cell death. We characterized the Plasmodium berghei homolog of the prominent autophagy marker protein Atg8/LC3 and found that it localized to the apicoplast. A relocalization of PbAtg8 to autophagosome-like vesicles or vacuoles that appear in dying parasites was not, however, observed. This strongly suggests that the function of this protein in liver-stage parasites is restricted to apicoplast biology.
Chen, Nanhua; LaCrue, Alexis N; Teuscher, Franka; Waters, Norman C; Gatton, Michelle L; Kyle, Dennis E; Cheng, Qin
Artemisinin (ART)-based combination therapy (ACT) is used as the first-line treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria worldwide. However, despite high potency and rapid action, there is a high rate of recrudescence associated with ART monotherapy or ACT long before the recent emergence of ART resistance. ART-induced ring-stage dormancy and recovery have been implicated as possible causes of recrudescence; however, little is known about the characteristics of dormant parasites, including whether dormant parasites are metabolically active. We investigated the transcription of 12 genes encoding key enzymes in various metabolic pathways in P. falciparum during dihydroartemisinin (DHA)-induced dormancy and recovery. Transcription analysis showed an immediate downregulation for 10 genes following exposure to DHA but continued transcription of 2 genes encoding apicoplast and mitochondrial proteins. Transcription of several additional genes encoding apicoplast and mitochondrial proteins, particularly of genes encoding enzymes in pyruvate metabolism and fatty acid synthesis pathways, was also maintained. Additions of inhibitors for biotin acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA) carboxylase and enoyl-acyl carrier reductase of the fatty acid synthesis pathways delayed the recovery of dormant parasites by 6 and 4 days, respectively, following DHA treatment. Our results demonstrate that most metabolic pathways are downregulated in DHA-induced dormant parasites. In contrast, fatty acid and pyruvate metabolic pathways remain active. These findings highlight new targets to interrupt recovery of parasites from ART-induced dormancy and to reduce the rate of recrudescence following ART treatment.
Kelly A Brayton
Full Text Available Babesia bovis is an apicomplexan tick-transmitted pathogen of cattle imposing a global risk and severe constraints to livestock health and economic development. The complete genome sequence was undertaken to facilitate vaccine antigen discovery, and to allow for comparative analysis with the related apicomplexan hemoprotozoa Theileria parva and Plasmodium falciparum. At 8.2 Mbp, the B. bovis genome is similar in size to that of Theileria spp. Structural features of the B. bovis and T. parva genomes are remarkably similar, and extensive synteny is present despite several chromosomal rearrangements. In contrast, B. bovis and P. falciparum, which have similar clinical and pathological features, have major differences in genome size, chromosome number, and gene complement. Chromosomal synteny with P. falciparum is limited to microregions. The B. bovis genome sequence has allowed wide scale analyses of the polymorphic variant erythrocyte surface antigen protein (ves1 gene family that, similar to the P. falciparum var genes, is postulated to play a role in cytoadhesion, sequestration, and immune evasion. The approximately 150 ves1 genes are found in clusters that are distributed throughout each chromosome, with an increased concentration adjacent to a physical gap on chromosome 1 that contains multiple ves1-like sequences. ves1 clusters are frequently linked to a novel family of variant genes termed smorfs that may themselves contribute to immune evasion, may play a role in variant erythrocyte surface antigen protein biology, or both. Initial expression analysis of ves1 and smorf genes indicates coincident transcription of multiple variants. B. bovis displays a limited metabolic potential, with numerous missing pathways, including two pathways previously described for the P. falciparum apicoplast. This reduced metabolic potential is reflected in the B. bovis apicoplast, which appears to have fewer nuclear genes targeted to it than other apicoplast
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.
Diniz, J A; Silva, E O; Lainson, R; de Souza, W
Most of the studies on the fine structure of protozoa of the Apicomplexa group have been carried out with members of the ToxoPlasma, Eimeria, and Plasmodium genera. In the present study we analyzed the fine structure of Garnia gonadoti parasitizing the red blood cells of the Amazonian reptile Gonatodes humeralis (Reptilia; Lacertilia). Transmission electron microscopy of thin sections showed that G. gonadoti presented all structures characteristic of the group, including the apicoplast. However, four special features were observed: (1) absence of the hemozoin (malarial) pigment; (2) a group of microtubules associated with the mitochondrion; (3) a vacuole containing electron-dense material, which resembled the acidocalcisome described in trypanosomatids; and (4) a special array of the host-cell endoplasmic reticulum around the parasitophorous vacuole.
Nagaraj, Viswanathan Arun; Arumugam, Rajavel; Gopalakrishnan, Bulusu; Jyothsna, Yeleswarapu Sri; Rangarajan, Pundi N; Padmanaban, Govindarajan
The hybrid pathway for heme biosynthesis in the malarial parasite proposes the involvement of parasite genome-coded enzymes of the pathway localized in different compartments such as apicoplast, mitochondria, and cytosol. However, knowledge on the functionality and localization of many of these enzymes is not available. In this study, we demonstrate that porphobilinogen deaminase encoded by the Plasmodium falciparum genome (PfPBGD) has several unique biochemical properties. Studies carried out with PfPBGD partially purified from parasite membrane fraction, as well as recombinant PfPBGD lacking N-terminal 64 amino acids expressed and purified from Escherichia coli cells (DeltaPfPBGD), indicate that both the proteins are catalytically active. Surprisingly, PfPBGD catalyzes the conversion of porphobilinogen to uroporphyrinogen III (UROGEN III), indicating that it also possesses uroporphyrinogen III synthase (UROS) activity, catalyzing the next step. This obviates the necessity to have a separate gene for UROS that has not been so far annotated in the parasite genome. Interestingly, DeltaPfP-BGD gives rise to UROGEN III even after heat treatment, although UROS from other sources is known to be heat-sensitive. Based on the analysis of active site residues, a DeltaPfPBGDL116K mutant enzyme was created and the specific activity of this recombinant mutant enzyme is 5-fold higher than DeltaPfPBGD. More interestingly, DeltaPfPBGDL116K catalyzes the formation of uroporphyrinogen I (UROGEN I) in addition to UROGEN III, indicating that with increased PBGD activity the UROS activity of PBGD may perhaps become rate-limiting, thus leading to non-enzymatic cyclization of preuroporphyrinogen to UROGEN I. PfPBGD is localized to the apicoplast and is catalytically very inefficient compared with the host red cell enzyme.
Full Text Available Malaria is major global health problem. Malaria parasite had developed resistance to the drug being used till date. It implies the development of new effective drug with different mode of action. Apicoplast in malaria and related parasite offer various new target for drug therapy. Apicoplast contains various metabolic pathways that differ from those of host thereby presenting ideal strategies for drug therapy. Plasmodium falciparum 1deoxy- Dxylulose 5- phosphate reductoisomerase (pfDXR is a potential target for antimalarial chemotherapy. The three dimentional model (3D of this enzyme was determined by means of homology modeling through multiplealignment followed by intensive optimization and validation. The comparative modeling of pfDXPR was performed by using comparative modeling program MODELLER, Swiss Model, 3Djigsaw, and Geno3D.The modelling of the three dimensional structure of pfDXPR shows that models generated by Modeller were more acceptable in comparison to that by 3Djigsaw, Geno3D and Swiss Model. The obtained models were verified with the structure validation programs like, PROCHECK & Swiss pdb viewer was used for energy refinement of the model. SelfOptimized Prediction Method with Alignment (SOPMA is employed for calculating the secondary structural features of pfDXR protein sequences considered for this study. The secondary structure indicates whether a given amino acid lies in a helix, strand or coil. The results revealed that alpha helix dominated among secondary structure elements followed by random coils, extended strand and beta turns for all sequences. Active site determination through CASTp suggests that this protein can acts as potential drug target.
Montazeri, Mahbobeh; Sharif, Mehdi; Sarvi, Shahabeddin; Mehrzadi, Saeed; Ahmadpour, Ehsan; Daryani, Ahmad
The currently available anti-Toxoplasma agents have serious limitations. This systematic review was performed to evaluate drugs and new compounds used for the treatment of toxoplasmosis. Data was systematically collected from published papers on the efficacy of drugs/compounds used against Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) globally during 2006–2016. The searched databases were PubMed, Google Scholar, Science Direct, ISI Web of Science, EBSCO, and Scopus. One hundred and eighteen papers were eligible for inclusion in this systematic review, which were both in vitro and in vivo studies. Within this review, 80 clinically available drugs and a large number of new compounds with more than 39 mechanisms of action were evaluated. Interestingly, many of the drugs/compounds evaluated against T. gondii act on the apicoplast. Therefore, the apicoplast represents as a potential drug target for new chemotherapy. Based on the current findings, 49 drugs/compounds demonstrated in vitro half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values of below 1 μM, but most of them were not evaluated further for in vivo effectiveness. However, the derivatives of the ciprofloxacin, endochin-like quinolones and 1-[4-(4-nitrophenoxy) phenyl] propane-1-one (NPPP) were significantly active against T. gondii tachyzoites both in vitro and in vivo. Thus, these compounds are promising candidates for future studies. Also, compound 32 (T. gondii calcium-dependent protein kinase 1 inhibitor), endochin-like quinolones, miltefosine, rolipram abolish, and guanabenz can be repurposed into an effective anti-parasitic with a unique ability to reduce brain tissue cysts (88.7, 88, 78, 74, and 69%, respectively). Additionally, no promising drugs are available for congenital toxoplasmosis. In conclusion, as current chemotherapy against toxoplasmosis is still not satisfactory, development of well-tolerated and safe specific immunoprophylaxis in relaxing the need of dependence on chemotherapeutics is a highly valuable
Montazeri, Mahbobeh; Sharif, Mehdi; Sarvi, Shahabeddin; Mehrzadi, Saeed; Ahmadpour, Ehsan; Daryani, Ahmad
The currently available anti-Toxoplasma agents have serious limitations. This systematic review was performed to evaluate drugs and new compounds used for the treatment of toxoplasmosis. Data was systematically collected from published papers on the efficacy of drugs/compounds used against Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) globally during 2006-2016. The searched databases were PubMed, Google Scholar, Science Direct, ISI Web of Science, EBSCO, and Scopus. One hundred and eighteen papers were eligible for inclusion in this systematic review, which were both in vitro and in vivo studies. Within this review, 80 clinically available drugs and a large number of new compounds with more than 39 mechanisms of action were evaluated. Interestingly, many of the drugs/compounds evaluated against T. gondii act on the apicoplast. Therefore, the apicoplast represents as a potential drug target for new chemotherapy. Based on the current findings, 49 drugs/compounds demonstrated in vitro half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values of below 1 μM, but most of them were not evaluated further for in vivo effectiveness. However, the derivatives of the ciprofloxacin, endochin-like quinolones and 1-[4-(4-nitrophenoxy) phenyl] propane-1-one (NPPP) were significantly active against T. gondii tachyzoites both in vitro and in vivo. Thus, these compounds are promising candidates for future studies. Also, compound 32 (T. gondii calcium-dependent protein kinase 1 inhibitor), endochin-like quinolones, miltefosine, rolipram abolish, and guanabenz can be repurposed into an effective anti-parasitic with a unique ability to reduce brain tissue cysts (88.7, 88, 78, 74, and 69%, respectively). Additionally, no promising drugs are available for congenital toxoplasmosis. In conclusion, as current chemotherapy against toxoplasmosis is still not satisfactory, development of well-tolerated and safe specific immunoprophylaxis in relaxing the need of dependence on chemotherapeutics is a highly valuable
Ramakrishnan, Srinivasan; Serricchio, Mauro; Striepen, Boris; Bütikofer, Peter
Lipid metabolism is of crucial importance for pathogens. Lipids serve as cellular building blocks, signalling molecules, energy stores, posttranslational modifiers, and pathogenesis factors. Parasites rely on a complex system of uptake and synthesis mechanisms to satisfy their lipid needs. The parameters of this system change dramatically as the parasite transits through the various stages of its life cycle. Here we discuss the tremendous recent advances that have been made in the understanding of the synthesis and uptake pathways for fatty acids and phospholipids in apicomplexan and kinetoplastid parasites, including Plasmodium, Toxoplasma, Cryptosporidium, Trypanosoma and Leishmania. Lipid synthesis differs in significant ways between parasites from both phyla and the human host. Parasites have acquired novel pathways through endosymbiosis, as in the case of the apicoplast, have dramatically reshaped substrate and product profiles, and have evolved specialized lipids to interact with or manipulate the host. These differences potentially provide opportunities for drug development. We outline the lipid pathways for key species in detail as they progress through the developmental cycle and highlight those that are of particular importance to the biology of the pathogens and/or are the most promising targets for parasite-specific treatment.
Daher, Wassim; Morlon-Guyot, Juliette; Alayi, Tchilabalo Dilezitoko; Tomavo, Stan; Wengelnik, Kai; Lebrun, Maryse
The phosphoinositide phosphatidylinositol-3,5-bisphosphate (PI(3,5)P2) plays crucial roles in the maintenance of lysosome/vacuole morphology, membrane trafficking and regulation of endolysosome-localized membrane channel activity. In Toxoplasma gondii, we previously reported that PI(3,5)P2 is essential for parasite survival by controlling homeostasis of the apicoplast, a particular organelle of algal origin. Here, by using a phosphoinositide pull-down assay, we identified TgPH1 in Toxoplasma a protein conserved in many apicomplexan parasites. TgPH1 binds specifically to PI(3,5)P2, shows punctate intracellular localization, but plays no vital role for tachyzoite growth in vitro. TgPH1 is a protein predominantly formed by a pleckstrin homology (PH) domain. So far, PH domains have been described to bind preferentially to bis- or trisphosphate phosphoinositides containing two adjacent phosphates (i.e. PI(3,4)P2, PI(4,5)P2, PI(3,4,5)P3). Therefore, our study reveals an unusual feature of TgPH1 which binds preferentially to PI(3,5)P2.
Stewart, Rebecca J; Ferguson, David J P; Whitehead, Lachlan; Bradin, Clare H; Wu, Hong J; Tonkin, Christopher J
Upon infection, apicomplexan parasites quickly invade host cells and begin a replicative cycle rapidly increasing in number over a short period of time, leading to tissue lysis and disease. The secretory pathway of these highly polarized protozoan parasites tightly controls, in time and space, the biogenesis of specialized structures and organelles required for invasion and intracellular survival. In other systems, regulation of protein trafficking can occur by phosphorylation of vesicle fusion machinery. Previously, we have shown that Toxoplasma gondii αSNAP - a protein that controls the disassembly of cis-SNARE complexes--is phosphorylated. Here, we show that this post-translational modification is required for the correct function of αSNAP in controlling secretory traffic. We demonstrate that during intracellular development conditional expression of a non-phosphorylatable form of αSNAP results in Golgi fragmentation and vesiculation of all downstream secretory organelles. In addition, we show that the vestigial plastid (termed apicoplast), although reported not to be reliant on Golgi trafficking for biogenesis, is also affected upon overexpression of αSNAP and is much more sensitive to the levels of this protein than targeting to other organelles. This work highlights the importance of αSNAP and its phosphorylation in Toxoplasma organelle biogenesis and exposes a hereto fore-unexplored mechanism of regulation of vesicle fusion during secretory pathway trafficking in apicomplexan parasites.
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.
Hediye Nese Cinar
Full Text Available Cyclospora cayetanensis is a human-specific coccidian parasite responsible for several food and water-related outbreaks around the world, including the most recent ones involving over 900 persons in 2013 and 2014 outbreaks in the USA. Multicopy organellar DNA such as mitochondrion genomes have been particularly informative for detection and genetic traceback analysis in other parasites. We sequenced the C. cayetanensis genomic DNA obtained from stool samples from patients infected with Cyclospora in Nepal using the Illumina MiSeq platform. By bioinformatically filtering out the metagenomic reads of non-coccidian origin sequences and concentrating the reads by targeted alignment, we were able to obtain contigs containing Eimeria-like mitochondrial, apicoplastic and some chromosomal genomic fragments. A mitochondrial genomic sequence was assembled and confirmed by cloning and sequencing targeted PCR products amplified from Cyclospora DNA using primers based on our draft assembly sequence. The results show that the C. cayetanensis mitochondrion genome is 6274 bp in length, with 33% GC content, and likely exists in concatemeric arrays as in Eimeria mitochondrial genomes. Phylogenetic analysis of the C. cayetanensis mitochondrial genome places this organism in a tight cluster with Eimeria species. The mitochondrial genome of C. cayetanensis contains three protein coding genes, cytochrome (cytb, cytochrome C oxidase subunit 1 (cox1, and cytochrome C oxidase subunit 3 (cox3, in addition to 14 large subunit (LSU and nine small subunit (SSU fragmented rRNA genes.
van Doorn, Wouter G; Yoshimoto, Kohki
Chloroplasts (chlorophyll-containing plastids) and other plastids are found in all plants and many animals. They are crucial to the survival of plants and most of the animals that harbour them. An example of a non-photosynthesizing plastid in animals is the apicoplast in the malaria-causing Plasmodium species, which is required for survival of the parasite. Many animals (such as sea slugs, sponges, reef corals, and clams) consume prey containing chloroplasts, or feed on algae. Some of these incorporate the chloroplasts from their food, or whole algal cells, into their own cells. Other species from these groups place algal cells between their own cells. Reef-building corals often lose their intracellular algae as a result of environmental changes, resulting in coral bleaching and death. The sensitivity of the chloroplast internal membranes to temperature stress is one of the reasons for coral death. Chloroplasts can also be a causal factor in the processes leading to whole-plant death, as the knockout of a gene encoding a chloroplast protein delayed the yellowing that proceeds death in tobacco plants. It is concluded that chloroplasts and other plastids are essential to individual survival in many species, including animals, and that they also play a role in triggering death in some plant and animal species.
Zaid O. Ibraheem
Full Text Available Emergence of drugs resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum has augmented the scourge of malaria in endemic areas. Antimalaria drugs act on different intracellular targets. The majority of them interfere with digestive vacuoles (DVs while others affect other organelles, namely, apicoplast and mitochondria. Prevention of drug accumulation or access into the target site is one of the mechanisms that plasmodium adopts to develop resistance. Plasmodia are endowed with series of transporters that shuffle drugs away from the target site, namely, pfmdr (Plasmodium falciparum multidrug resistance transporter and pfcrt (Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter which exist in DV membrane and are considered as putative markers of CQ resistance. They are homologues to human P-glycoproteins (P-gh or multidrug resistance system and members of drug metabolite transporter (DMT family, respectively. The former mediates drifting of xenobiotics towards the DV while the latter chucks them outside. Resistance to drugs whose target site of action is intravacuolar develops when the transporters expel them outside the DVs and vice versa for those whose target is extravacuolar. In this review, we are going to summarize the possible pfcrt and pfmdr mutation and their role in changing plasmodium sensitivity to different anti-Plasmodium drugs.
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.
Müller, Joachim; Hemphill, Andrew
Antiparasitic chemotherapy is an important issue for drug development. Traditionally, novel compounds with antiprotozoan activities have been identified by screening of compound libraries in high-throughput systems. More recently developed approaches employ target-based drug design supported by genomics and proteomics of protozoan parasites. In this chapter, the drug targets in protozoan parasites are reviewed. The gene-expression machinery has been among the first targets for antiparasitic drugs and is still under investigation as a target for novel compounds. Other targets include cytoskeletal proteins, proteins involved in intracellular signaling, membranes, and enzymes participating in intermediary metabolism. In apicomplexan parasites, the apicoplast is a suitable target for established and novel drugs. Some drugs act on multiple subcellular targets. Drugs with nitro groups generate free radicals under anaerobic growth conditions, and drugs with peroxide groups generate radicals under aerobic growth conditions, both affecting multiple cellular pathways. Mefloquine and thiazolides are presented as examples for antiprotozoan compounds with multiple (side) effects. The classic approach of drug discovery employing high-throughput physiological screenings followed by identification of drug targets has yielded the mainstream of current antiprotozoal drugs. Target-based drug design supported by genomics and proteomics of protozoan parasites has not produced any antiparasitic drug so far. The reason for this is discussed and a synthesis of both methods is proposed.
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.
Bernotienė, Rasa; Palinauskas, Vaidas; Iezhova, Tatjana; Murauskaitė, Dovilė; Valkiūnas, Gediminas
Mixed infections of different species and genetic lineages of haemosporidian parasites (Haemosporida) predominate in wildlife, and such infections are particularly virulent. However, currently used polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based detection methods often do not read mixed infections. Sensitivity of different PCR assays in detection of mixed infections has been insufficiently tested, but this knowledge is essential in studies addressing parasite diversity in wildlife. Here, we applied five different PCR assays, which are broadly used in wildlife avian haemosporidian research, and compared their sensitivity in detection of experimentally designed mixed infections of Haemoproteus and Plasmodium parasites. Three of these PCR assays use primer sets that amplify fragments of cytochrome b gene (cyt b), one of cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene, and one target apicoplast genome. We collected blood from wild-caught birds and, using microscopic and PCR-based methods applied in parallel, identified single infections of ten haemosporidian species with similar parasitemia. Then, we prepared 15 experimental mixes of different haemosporidian parasites, which often are present simultaneously in wild birds. Similar concentration of total DNA was used in each parasite lineage during preparation of mixes. Positive amplifications were sequenced, and the presence of mixed infections was reported by visualising double-base calling in sequence electropherograms. This study shows that the use of each single PCR assay markedly underestimates biodiversity of haemosporidian parasites. The application of at least 3 PCR assays in parallel detected the majority, but still not all lineages present in mixed infections. We determined preferences of different primers in detection of parasites belonging to different genera of haemosporidians during mixed infections.
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.
Full Text Available Abstract Background The distinct differences in gene control mechanisms acting in the nucleus between Plasmodium falciparum and the human host could lead to new potential drug targets for anti-malarial development. New molecular toolkits are required for dissecting molecular machineries in the P. falciparum nucleus. One valuable tool commonly used in model organisms is protein targeting to specific sub-cellular locations. Targeting proteins to specified locations allows labeling of organelles for microscopy, or testing of how the protein of interest modulates organelle function. In recent years, this approach has been developed for various malaria organelles, such as the mitochondrion and the apicoplast. A tool for targeting a protein of choice to the P. falciparum nucleus using an exogenous nuclear localization sequence is reported here. Methods To develop a nuclear targeting system, a putative nuclear localization sequence was fused with green fluorescent protein (GFP. The nuclear localization sequence from the yeast transcription factor Gal4 was chosen because of its well-defined nuclear localization signal. A series of truncated Gal4 constructs was also created to narrow down the nuclear localization sequence necessary for P. falciparum nuclear import. Transfected parasites were analysed by fluorescent and laser-scanning confocal microscopy. Results The nuclear localization sequence of Gal4 is functional in P. falciparum. It effectively transported GFP into the nucleus, and the first 74 amino acid residues were sufficient for nuclear localization. Conclusions The Gal4 fusion technique enables specific transport of a protein of choice into the P. falciparum nucleus, and thus provides a tool for labeling nuclei without using DNA-staining dyes. The finding also indicates similarities between the nuclear transport mechanisms of yeast and P. falciparum. Since the nuclear transport system has been thoroughly studied in yeast, this could give clues