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Sci Rep. 2016 Mar 23;6:23454. doi: 10.1038/srep23454.

Ca(2+) monitoring in Plasmodium falciparum using the yellow cameleon-Nano biosensor.

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Department of Protozoology, Institute of Tropical Medicine (NEKKEN), Nagasaki University, 1-12-4 Sakamoto, Nagasaki 852-8523, Japan.
Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), GPO Box: 3323, Khumaltar, Lalitpur, Nepal.
School of Biological Science, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Health Sciences, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal.
Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki University, 1-12-4 Sakamoto, Nagasaki 852-8523, Japan.
The Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, Osaka University, 8-1 Mihogaoka, Ibaraki, Osaka 567-0047, Japan.


Calcium (Ca(2+))-mediated signaling is a conserved mechanism in eukaryotes, including the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Due to its small size (<10 μm) measurement of intracellular Ca(2+) in Plasmodium is technically challenging, and thus Ca(2+) regulation in this human pathogen is not well understood. Here we analyze Ca(2+) homeostasis via a new approach using transgenic P. falciparum expressing the Ca(2+) sensor yellow cameleon (YC)-Nano. We found that cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration is maintained at low levels only during the intraerythrocytic trophozoite stage (30 nM), and is increased in the other blood stages (>300 nM). We determined that the mammalian SERCA inhibitor thapsigargin and antimalarial dihydroartemisinin did not perturb SERCA activity. The change of the cytosolic Ca(2+) level in P. falciparum was additionally detectable by flow cytometry. Thus, we propose that the developed YC-Nano-based system is useful to study Ca(2+) signaling in P. falciparum and is applicable for drug screening.

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