Arrested Oocyst Maturation in Plasmodium Parasites Lacking Type II NADH:Ubiquinone Dehydrogenase

Parasitology Unit, Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, 10117 Berlin, Germany.
Journal of Biological Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.57). 07/2011; 286(37):32661-71. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M111.269399
Source: PubMed


The Plasmodium mitochondrial electron transport chain has received considerable attention as a potential target for new antimalarial drugs. Atovaquone, a potent inhibitor of Plasmodium cytochrome bc(1), in combination with proguanil is recommended for chemoprophylaxis and treatment of malaria. The type II NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase (NDH2) is considered an attractive drug target, as its inhibition is thought to lead to the arrest of the mitochondrial electron transport chain and, as a consequence, pyrimidine biosynthesis, an essential pathway for the parasite. Using the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei as an in vivo infection model, we studied the role of NDH2 during Plasmodium life cycle progression. NDH2 can be deleted by targeted gene disruption and, thus, is dispensable for the pathogenic asexual blood stages, disproving the candidacy for an anti-malarial drug target. After transmission to the insect vector, NDH2-deficient ookinetes display an intact mitochondrial membrane potential. However, ndh2(-) parasites fail to develop into mature oocysts in the mosquito midgut. We propose that Plasmodium blood stage parasites rely on glycolysis as the main ATP generating process, whereas in the invertebrate vector, a glucose-deprived environment, the malaria parasite is dependent on an intact mitochondrial respiratory chain.

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Available from: Kai Matuschewski, Apr 30, 2014
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    • "In studies involving Plasmodium parasites, arrested oocyte maturation is seen in the lack of NADH-Ubiquinone oxidoreductase, which is a part of the electron transport chain (Boysen and Matuschewski, 2011). This shows the importance of ubiquinone and its role within the plasmodium parasite. "
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    ABSTRACT: Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Leishmania, which is active in two broad forms namely, Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL or Kala Azar) and Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (CL). The disease is most prevalent in the tropical regions and poses a threat to over 70 countries across the globe. About 200 million people are estimated to be at risk of developing VL in the Indian subcontinent, and this refers to around 67% of the global VL disease burden. The Indian state of Bihar alone accounts for 50% of the total VL cases. While no vaccination exists, several pentavalent antimonials and drugs like Paromomycin, Amphotericin, Miltefosine etc. are used in the treatment of Leishmaniasis. However, due to their low efficacies and the resistance developed by the bug to these medications, there is an urgent need to look into newer species specific targets. The proteome information available suggests that among the 7960 proteins in Leishmania donavani, a staggering 65% remains classified as a hypothetical uncharacterized set. In this background, we have attempted to assign probable functions to these hypothetical sequences present in this parasite, to explore their plausible roles as druggable receptors. Thus, putative functions have been defined to 105 hypothetical proteins, which exhibited a GO term correlation and PFAM domain coverage of more than 50% over the query sequence length. Of these, 27 sequences were found to be associated with a reference pathway in KEGG as well. Further, using homology approaches, four pathways viz., Ubiquinone biosynthesis, Fatty acid elongation in Mitochondria, Fatty Acid Elongation in ER and Seleno-cysteine Metabolism have been reconstructed. In addition, 7 new putative essential genes have been mined with the help of Eukaryotic Database of Essential Genes (DEG). All these information related to pathways and essential genes indeed show promise for exploiting the select molecules as potential therapeutic targets.
    Frontiers in Genetics 08/2014; 5:291. DOI:10.3389/fgene.2014.00291
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    • "These studies have shown that following the sexual process that takes place in the mosquito stomach, the ookinete has the ability to cross the PM by secreting a chitinase with characteristics of the family 18-glycohydrolases that have catalytic and substrate-binding sites that breaks down this layer [8-10]. After crossing the PM, ookinetes finally transform into oocysts which after maturing (9–11 days [11]) releases the sporozoites that move to the salivary glands where they are ready for infecting a new host (e.g. birds). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Malaria parasites need to synthesize chitinase in order to go through the peritrophic membrane, which is created around the mosquito midgut, to complete its life cycle. In mammalian malaria species, the chitinase gene comprises either a large or a short copy. In the avian malaria parasites Plasmodium gallinaceum both copies are present, suggesting that a gene duplication in the ancestor to these extant species preceded the loss of either the long or the short copy in Plasmodium parasites of mammals. Plasmodium gallinaceum is not the most widespread and harmful parasite of birds. This study is the first to search for and identify the chitinase gene in one of the most prevalent avian malaria parasites, Plasmodium relictum. Methods Both copies of P. gallinaceum chitinase were used as reference sequences for primer design. Different sequences of Plasmodium spp. were used to build the phylogenetic tree of chitinase gene. Results The gene encoding for chitinase was identified in isolates of two mitochondrial lineages of P. relictum (SGS1 and GRW4). The chitinase found in these two lineages consists both of the long (PrCHT1) and the short (PrCHT2) copy. The genetic differences found in the long copy of the chitinase gene between SGS1 and GRW4 were higher than the difference observed for the cytochrome b gene. Conclusion The identification of both copies in P. relictum sheds light on the phylogenetic relationship of the chitinase gene in the genus Plasmodium. Due to its high variability, the chitinase gene could be used to study the genetic population structure in isolates from different host species and geographic regions.
    Malaria Journal 06/2014; 13(1):239. DOI:10.1186/1475-2875-13-239 · 3.11 Impact Factor
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    • "Despite lacking a recognizable mitochondrial PDH in P. falciparum, there is increasing evidence that a conventional TCA cycle can operate in the insect stages of these parasites [18,20] and of other apicomplexan parasites. In particular, we have recently shown that the TCA cycle is essential for the growth of intracellular stages of Toxoplasma gondii[21]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The carbon metabolism of the blood stages of Plasmodium falciparum, comprising rapidly dividing asexual stages and non-dividing gametocytes, is thought to be highly streamlined, with glycolysis providing most of the cellular ATP. However, these parasitic stages express all the enzymes needed for a canonical mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, and it was recently proposed that they may catabolize glutamine via an atypical branched TCA cycle. Whether these stages catabolize glucose in the TCA cycle and what is the functional significance of mitochondrial metabolism remains unresolved. Results We reassessed the central carbon metabolism of P. falciparum asexual and sexual blood stages, by metabolically labeling each stage with 13C-glucose and 13C-glutamine, and analyzing isotopic enrichment in key pathways using mass spectrometry. In contrast to previous findings, we found that carbon skeletons derived from both glucose and glutamine are catabolized in a canonical oxidative TCA cycle in both the asexual and sexual blood stages. Flux of glucose carbon skeletons into the TCA cycle is low in the asexual blood stages, with glutamine providing most of the carbon skeletons, but increases dramatically in the gametocyte stages. Increased glucose catabolism in the gametocyte TCA cycle was associated with increased glucose uptake, suggesting that the energy requirements of this stage are high. Significantly, whereas chemical inhibition of the TCA cycle had little effect on the growth or viability of asexual stages, inhibition of the gametocyte TCA cycle led to arrested development and death. Conclusions Our metabolomics approach has allowed us to revise current models of P. falciparum carbon metabolism. In particular, we found that both asexual and sexual blood stages utilize a conventional TCA cycle to catabolize glucose and glutamine. Gametocyte differentiation is associated with a programmed remodeling of central carbon metabolism that may be required for parasite survival either before or after uptake by the mosquito vector. The increased sensitivity of gametocyte stages to TCA-cycle inhibitors provides a potential target for transmission-blocking drugs.
    BMC Biology 06/2013; 11(1):67. DOI:10.1186/1741-7007-11-67 · 7.98 Impact Factor
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