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Cell Microbiol. 2020 Jan 28:e13168. doi: 10.1111/cmi.13168. [Epub ahead of print]

EXP1 is required for organisation of EXP2 in the intraerythrocytic malaria parasite vacuole.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Department of Biological Chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.
Departments of Medicine and Molecular Microbiology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.


Intraerythrocytic malaria parasites reside within a parasitophorous vacuole membrane (PVM) that closely overlays the parasite plasma membrane. Although the PVM is the site of several transport activities essential to parasite survival, the basis for organisation of this membrane system is unknown. Here, we performed proximity labeling at the PVM with BioID2, which highlighted a group of single-pass integral membrane proteins that constitute a major component of the PVM proteome but whose function remains unclear. We investigated EXP1, the longest known member of this group, by adapting a CRISPR/Cpf1 genome editing system to install the TetR-DOZI-aptamers system for conditional translational control. Importantly, although EXP1 was required for intraerythrocytic development, a previously reported in vitro glutathione S-transferase activity could not account for this essential EXP1 function in vivo. EXP1 knockdown was accompanied by profound changes in vacuole ultrastructure, including apparent increased separation of the PVM from the parasite plasma membrane and formation of abnormal membrane structures. Furthermore, although activity of the Plasmodium translocon of exported proteins was not impacted by depletion of EXP1, the distribution of the translocon pore-forming protein EXP2 but not the HSP101 unfoldase was substantially altered. Collectively, our results reveal a novel PVM defect that indicates a critical role for EXP1 in maintaining proper organisation of EXP2 within the PVM.


Plasmodium falciparum; BioID2; Cpf1/Cas12a; EXP1; EXP2; parasitophorous vacuole


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