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Science. 2003 Jan 31;299(5607):705-8.

Dissecting apicoplast targeting in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

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  • 1Plant Cell Biology Research Centre, School of Botany, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia.


Transit peptides mediate protein targeting into plastids and are only poorly understood. We extracted amino acid features from transit peptides that target proteins to the relict plastid (apicoplast) of malaria parasites. Based on these amino acid characteristics, we identified 466 putative apicoplast proteins in the Plasmodium falciparum genome. Altering the specific charge characteristics in a model transit peptide by site-directed mutagenesis severely disrupted organellar targeting in vivo. Similarly, putative Hsp70 (DnaK) binding sites present in the transit peptide proved to be important for correct targeting.

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