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J Biol Chem. 2001 Nov 2;276(44):41095-9. Epub 2001 Sep 10.

Localization of the Plasmodium falciparum PfNT1 nucleoside transporter to the parasite plasma membrane.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon 97201, USA.


Nutrient transporters play critical roles in parasite metabolism, but the membranes in which they reside have not been clearly defined. The transport of purine nutrients is crucial to the survival of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, and nucleoside transport activity has been associated with a number of different membrane components within the parasitized erythrocyte. To determine the location of the PfNT1 nucleoside transporter, the first component of the nucleoside permeation pathway to be studied at the molecular level in P. falciparum (Carter, N. S., Ben Mamoun, C., Liu, W., Silva, E. O., Landfear, S. M., Goldberg, D. E., and Ullman, B. (2000) J. Biol. Chem. 275, 10683-10691), polyclonal antisera against the NH2-terminal 36 amino acids of PfNT1 were raised in rabbits. Western blot analysis of parasite lysates revealed that the antibodies were specific for PfNT1 and that the level of PfNT1 protein in the infected erythrocyte is regulated in a stage-specific fashion. The amount of PfNT1 polypeptide increases dramatically during the early trophozoite stage and reaches its maximal level in the late trophozoite and schizont stages. Deconvolution and immunoelectron microscopy using these monospecific antibodies revealed that PfNT1 localizes predominantly, if not exclusively, to the plasma membrane of the parasite and not to the parasitophorous vacuolar or erythrocyte membranes.

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