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Mol Microbiol. 2012 Mar;83(6):1229-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2012.08004.x. Epub 2012 Feb 21.

The exported Plasmodium berghei protein IBIS1 delineates membranous structures in infected red blood cells.

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  • 1Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany. ingmundson@mpiib-berlin.mpg.de


The importance of pathogen-induced host cell remodelling has been well established for red blood cell infection by the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Exported parasite-encoded proteins, which often possess a signature motif, termed Plasmodium export element (PEXEL) or host-targeting (HT) signal, are critical for the extensive red blood cell modifications. To what extent remodelling of erythrocyte membranes also occurs in non-primate hosts and whether it is in fact a hallmark of all mammalian Plasmodium parasites remains elusive. Here we characterize a novel Plasmodium berghei PEXEL/HT-containing protein, which we term IBIS1. Temporal expression and spatial localization determined by fluorescent tagging revealed the presence of IBIS1 at the parasite/host interface during both liver and blood stages of infection. Targeted deletion of the IBIS1 protein revealed a mild impairment of intra-erythrocytic growth indicating a role for these structures in the rapid expansion of the parasite population in the blood in vivo. In red blood cells, the protein localizes to dynamic, punctate structures external to the parasite. Biochemical and microscopic data revealed that these intra-erythrocytic P. berghei-induced structures (IBIS) are membranous indicating that P. berghei, like P. falciparum, creates an intracellular membranous network in infected red blood cells.

© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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