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Mol Microbiol. 2005 Apr;56(1):81-9.

The apicoplast of Plasmodium falciparum is translationally active.

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Division of Molecular and Structural Biology, Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow-226001, India.


Apicoplast, the plastid-like organelle of apicomplexan parasites, has generated interest as a putative drug target. Although transcripts for genes encoded by the 35 kb circular plastid DNA have been detected, the actual presence of their protein products has only been postulated. We provide evidence for translation of the tufA gene encoded by the Plasmodium falciparum apicoplast genome. Translation elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu), the product of tufA, was localized within the organelle. TufA was found to express maximally in the trophozoite stage of the intraerythrocytic cycle. Additionally, the drug thiostrepton that has a binding site in apicoplast LSU rRNA, reduced P. falciparum apicoplast EF-Tu levels thus strengthening the view that translation in the apicoplast is the site of action of this drug.

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