Protein Targeting to the Parasitophorous Vacuole Membrane of Plasmodium falciparum

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EUKARYOTIC CELL, vol.10, no.6, pp.744-752, 2011 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1128/ec.00008-11
  • Journal Name: EUKARYOTIC CELL
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.744-752
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Affiliated: Yes


Red blood cell (RBC) invasion and parasitophorous vacuole (PV) formation by Plasmodium falciparum are critical for the development and pathogenesis of malaria, a continuing global health problem. Expansion of the PV membrane (PVM) during growth is orchestrated by the parasite. This is particularly important in mature RBCs, which lack internal organelles and no longer actively synthesize membranes. Pfs16, a 16-kDa integral PVM protein expressed by gametocytes, was chosen as a model for studying the trafficking of material from the parasite across the PV space to the PVM. The locations of Pfs16-green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter proteins containing distinct regions of Pfs16 were tracked from RBC invasion to emergence. Inclusion of the 53 C-terminal amino acids (aa) of Pfs16 to a GFP reporter construct already containing the N-terminal secretory signal sequence was sufficient for targeting to and retention on the PVM. An amino acid motif identified in this region was also found in seven other known PVM proteins. Removal of the 11 C-terminal aa did not affect PVM targeting, but membrane retention was decreased. Additionally, during emergence from the PVM and RBC, native Pfs16 and the full-length Pfs16-GFP reporter protein were found to concentrate on the ends of the gametocyte. Capping was not observed in constructs lacking the amino acids between the N-terminal secretory signal sequence and the transmembrane domain, suggesting that this region, which is not required for PVM targeting, is involved in capping. This is the first report to define the amino acid domains required for targeting to the P. falciparum PVM.