A Central Role for P48/45 in Malaria Parasite Male Gamete Fertility
ABSTRACT Fertilization and zygote development are obligate features of the malaria parasite life cycle and occur during parasite transmission to mosquitoes. The surface protein PFS48/45 is expressed by male and female gametes of Plasmodium falciparum and PFS48/45 antibodies prevent zygote development and transmission. Here, gene disruption was used to show that Pfs48/45 and the ortholog Pbs48/45 from a rodent malaria parasite P. berghei play a conserved and important role in fertilization. p48/45- parasites had a reduced capacity to produce oocysts in mosquitoes due to greatly reduced zygote formation. Unexpectedly, only male gamete fertility of p48/45- parasites was affected, failing to penetrate otherwise fertile female gametes. P48/45 is shown to be a surface protein of malaria parasites with a demonstrable role in fertilization.
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ABSTRACT: Cell-cell fusion between gametes is a defining step during development of eukaryotes, yet we know little about the cellular and molecular mechanisms of the gamete membrane fusion reaction. HAP2 is the sole gamete-specific protein in any system that is broadly conserved and shown by gene disruption to be essential for gamete fusion. The wide evolutionary distribution of HAP2 (also known as GCS1) indicates it was present in the last eukaryotic common ancestor and, therefore, dissecting its molecular properties should provide new insights into fundamental features of fertilization. HAP2 acts at a step after membrane adhesion, presumably directly in the merger of the lipid bilayers. Here, we use the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas to characterize contributions of key regions of HAP2 to protein location and function. We report that mutation of three strongly conserved residues in the ectodomain has no effect on targeting or fusion, although short deletions that include those residues block surface expression and fusion. Furthermore, HAP2 lacking a 237-residue segment of the cytoplasmic region is expressed at the cell surface, but fails to localize at the apical membrane patch specialized for fusion and fails to rescue fusion. Finally, we provide evidence that the ancient HAP2 contained a juxta-membrane, multi-cysteine motif in its cytoplasmic region, and that mutation of a cysteine dyad in this motif preserves protein localization, but substantially impairs HAP2 fusion activity. Thus, the ectodomain of HAP2 is essential for its surface expression, and the cytoplasmic region targets HAP2 to the site of fusion and regulates the fusion reaction. © 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.Development 02/2015; 142(5). DOI:10.1242/dev.118844 · 6.27 Impact Factor
The American Society for Cell Biology Annual Meeting; 12/2011
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ABSTRACT: Transmission of malaria parasites from humans to Anopheles mosquitoes can be inhibited by specific antibodies elicited during malaria infection, which target surface Plasmodium gametocyte/ gamete proteins. Some of these proteins may have potential for vaccine development. Pvs48/45 is a P. vivax gametocyte surface antigen orthologous to Pfs48/45, which may play a role during parasite fertilization and thus has potential for transmission blocking (TB) activity. Here we describe the expression of a recombinant Pvs48/45 protein expressed in Escherichia coli as a*60kDa construct which we tested for antigenicity using human sera and for its immunogenicity and transmission blocking activity of specific anti-mouse and anti-monkey Pvs48/45 antibodies. The protein reacted with sera of individuals from malaria- endemic areas and in addition induced specific IgG antibody responses in BALB/c mice and Aotus l. griseimembra monkeys. Sera from both immunized animal species recognized native P. vivax protein in Western blot (WB) and immunofluorescence assays. Moreover, sera from immunized mice and monkeys produced significant inhibition of parasite transmission to An. Albimanus mosquitoes as shown by membrane feeding assays. Results indicate the presence of reactive epitopes in the Pvs48/45 recombinant product that induce antibodies with TB activity. Further testing of this protein is ongoing to determine its vaccine potential.PLoS ONE 03/2015; 10(3):1. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0119335 · 3.53 Impact Factor