Mitochondria and apicoplast of Plasmodium falciparum: behaviour on subcellular fractionation and the implication.
ABSTRACT The mitochondrion and the apicoplast of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium spp. is microscopically observed in a close proximity to each other. In this study, we tested the suitability of two different separation techniques--Percoll density gradient centrifugation and fluorescence-activated organelle sorting--for improving the purity of mitochondria isolated from the crude organelle preparation of Plasmodium falciparum. To our surprise, the apicoplast was inseparable from the plasmodial mitochondrion by each method. This implies these two plasmodial organelles are bound each other. This is the first experimental evidence of a physical binding between the two organelles in Plasmodium.
Article: Dynamic subcellular localization of isoforms of the folate pathway enzyme serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT) through the erythrocytic cycle of Plasmodium falciparum.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The folate pathway enzyme serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT) converts serine to glycine and 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate and is essential for the acquisition of one-carbon units for subsequent transfer reactions. 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate is used by thymidylate synthase to convert dUMP to dTMP for DNA synthesis. In Plasmodium falciparum an enzymatically functional SHMT (PfSHMTc) and a related, apparently inactive isoform (PfSHMTm) are found, encoded by different genes. Here, patterns of localization of the two isoforms during the parasite erythrocytic cycle are investigated. Polyclonal antibodies were raised to PfSHMTc and PfSHMTm, and, together with specific markers for the mitochondrion and apicoplast, were employed in quantitative confocal fluorescence microscopy of blood-stage parasites. As well as the expected cytoplasmic occupancy of PfSHMTc during all stages, localization into the mitochondrion and apicoplast occurred in a stage-specific manner. Although early trophozoites lacked visible organellar PfSHMTc, a significant percentage of parasites showed such fluorescence during the mid-to-late trophozoite and schizont stages. In the case of the mitochondrion, the majority of parasites in these stages at any given time showed no marked PfSHMTc fluorescence, suggesting that its occupancy of this organelle is of limited duration. PfSHMTm showed a distinctly more pronounced mitochondrial location through most of the erythrocytic cycle and GFP-tagging of its N-terminal region confirmed the predicted presence of a mitochondrial signal sequence. Within the apicoplast, a majority of mitotic schizonts showed a marked concentration of PfSHMTc, whose localization in this organelle was less restricted than for the mitochondrion and persisted from the late trophozoite to the post-mitotic stages. PfSHMTm showed a broadly similar distribution across the cycle, but with a distinctive punctate accumulation towards the ends of elongating apicoplasts. In very late post-mitotic schizonts, both PfSHMTc and PfSHMTm were concentrated in the central region of the parasite that becomes the residual body on erythrocyte lysis and merozoite release. Both PfSHMTc and PfSHMTm show dynamic, stage-dependent localization among the different compartments of the parasite and sequence analysis suggests they may also reversibly associate with each other, a factor that may be critical to folate cofactor function, given the apparent lack of enzymic activity of PfSHMTm.Malaria Journal 01/2010; 9:351. · 3.19 Impact Factor