Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Nov 20;109(47):E3278-87. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1209823109. Epub 2012 Oct 29.

Plasmodium falciparum responds to amino acid starvation by entering into a hibernatory state.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.

Abstract

The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is auxotrophic for most amino acids. Its amino acid needs are met largely through the degradation of host erythrocyte hemoglobin; however the parasite must acquire isoleucine exogenously, because this amino acid is not present in adult human hemoglobin. We report that when isoleucine is withdrawn from the culture medium of intraerythrocytic P. falciparum, the parasite slows its metabolism and progresses through its developmental cycle at a reduced rate. Isoleucine-starved parasites remain viable for 72 h and resume rapid growth upon resupplementation. Protein degradation during starvation is important for maintenance of this hibernatory state. Microarray analysis of starved parasites revealed a 60% decrease in the rate of progression through the normal transcriptional program but no other apparent stress response. Plasmodium parasites do not possess a TOR nutrient-sensing pathway and have only a rudimentary amino acid starvation-sensing eukaryotic initiation factor 2α (eIF2α) stress response. Isoleucine deprivation results in GCN2-mediated phosphorylation of eIF2α, but kinase-knockout clones still are able to hibernate and recover, indicating that this pathway does not directly promote survival during isoleucine starvation. We conclude that P. falciparum, in the absence of canonical eukaryotic nutrient stress-response pathways, can cope with an inconsistent bloodstream amino acid supply by hibernating and waiting for more nutrient to be provided.

PMID:
23112171
PMCID:
PMC3511138
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1209823109
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center