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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1989 May 1;34(2):109-15.

Mitochondria as the site of action of tetracycline on Plasmodium falciparum.

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Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.


Rhodamine 123 (Rh 123) was used as a fluorescent probe for the mitochondria of the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum. On treatment with tetracycline in vitro, a marked decrease in the percentage of parasites with Rh123 fluorescence in the mitochondria was observed in parallel with an increase in the percentage of parasites with abnormal morphology during onset of decrease in parasitemia. Similar results were obtained, over a shorter time period, with 2,4-dinitrophenol. However, the percentage of parasites with fluorescence did not decrease with increase in parasite abnormal morphology or decrease in parasitemia on treatment with pyrimethamine or cycloheximide. Isoelectric focusing-SDS gel electrophoresis of radiolabelled parasite proteins showed two components of 95 and 85 kDa, the synthesis of which was sensitive to tetracycline, but not cycloheximide. It is concluded that tetracycline exerts its action through the effect on parasite mitochondria and mitochondrial protein synthesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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