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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Apr 2;110(14):5392-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1218412110. Epub 2013 Mar 5.

Protein complex directs hemoglobin-to-hemozoin formation in Plasmodium falciparum.

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  • 1Malaria Research Group, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi 110067, India.

Abstract

Malaria parasites use hemoglobin (Hb) as a major nutrient source in the intraerythrocytic stage, during which heme is converted to hemozoin (Hz). The formation of Hz is essential for parasite survival, but to date, the underlying mechanisms of Hb degradation and Hz formation are poorly understood. We report the presence of a ∼200-kDa protein complex in the food vacuole that is required for Hb degradation and Hz formation. This complex contains several parasite proteins, including falcipain 2/2', plasmepsin II, plasmepsin IV, histo aspartic protease, and heme detoxification protein. The association of these proteins is evident from coimmunoprecipitation followed by mass spectrometry, coelution from a gel filtration column, cosedimentation on a glycerol gradient, and in vitro protein interaction analyses. To functionally characterize this complex, we developed an in vitro assay using two of the proteins present in the complex. Our results show that falcipain 2 and heme detoxification protein associate with each other to efficiently convert Hb to Hz. We also used this in vitro assay to elucidate the modes of action of chloroquine and artemisinin. Our results reveal that both chloroquine and artemisinin act during the heme polymerization step, and chloroquine also acts at the Hb degradation step. These results may have important implications in the development of previously undefined antimalarials.

PMID:
23471987
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3619337
Free PMC Article
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