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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1998 Apr 1;92(1):111-22.

Analysis of the processing of Plasmodium falciparum rhoptry-associated protein 1 and localization of Pr86 to schizont rhoptries and p67 to free merozoites.

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Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, WA 98117, USA.


The processing and localization of Plasmodium falciparum rhoptry-associated protein 1 (RAP-1) products were examined using polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies raised to a recombinant protein containing residues 1-294 of RAP-1. Immunoblot and epitope mapping results with antibodies that selectively bound epitopes in the RAP-1 products Pr86, p82, and p67 showed that p82 and p67 are formed from Pr86 by progressive removal of epitopes from the amino-terminus of the RAP-1 coding sequence. The capacity of Pr86 to form complexes was revealed after size fractionation of parasite proteins radiolabeled in the presence of brefeldin A to prevent processing of Pr86. Fractions containing complexed Pr86 also contained the RAP-2 product p39 and the RAP-3 product p37, suggesting that Pr86, p39 and p37 may form complexes similar to complexes previously reported for p82 and p67 with p39 or p37. Immunofluorescence localization and immunoblot studies revealed that Pr86 is present in the rhoptries, but only transiently, and that it is not detected in segmenting schizonts or extracellular merozoites. p67 and p82, on the other hand, were shown to be major RAP-1 components in purified merozoites. Neither p67 nor p82 were relocalized from the intracellular rhoptries to the merozoite surface under conditions that promoted relocalization of the rhoptry protein PF83/apical membrane antigen 1. These results suggest that processing of Pr86 begins after Pr86 complexes are transported to the forming rhoptries and that two site-selective processing reactions occur in the rhoptries, a rapid cleavage of Pr86 to p82 and a delayed cleavage of p82 to p67. Since p67 is missing from ring-stage parasites (Howard et al., Am J Trop Med Hyg, 1984;33:1055 59), the present results indicate there is a narrow time during which p67 may play a role in merozoite invasion of erythrocytes.

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