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Singh S.,Malaria Group | Alam M.M.,Malaria Group | Pal-Bhowmick I.,National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases | Brzostowski J.A.,National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases | Chitnis C.E.,Malaria Group
PLoS Pathogens | Year: 2010

The invasion of erythrocytes by Plasmodium merozoites requires specific interactions between host receptors and parasite ligands. Parasite proteins that bind erythrocyte receptors during invasion are localized in apical organelles called micronemes and rhoptries. The regulated secretion of microneme and rhoptry proteins to the merozoite surface to enable receptor binding is a critical step in the invasion process. The sequence of these secretion events and the external signals that trigger release are not known. We have used time-lapse video microscopy to study changes in intracellular calcium levels in Plasmodium falciparum merozoites during erythrocyte invasion. In addition, we have developed flow cytometry based methods to measure relative levels of cytosolic calcium and study surface expression of apical organelle proteins in P. falciparum merozoites in response to different external signals. We demonstrate that exposure of P. falciparum merozoites to low potassium ion concentrations as found in blood plasma leads to a rise in cytosolic calcium levels through a phospholipase C mediated pathway. Rise in cytosolic calcium triggers secretion of microneme proteins such as the 175 kD erythrocyte binding antigen (EBA175) and apical membrane antigen-1 (AMA-1) to the merozoite surface. Subsequently, interaction of EBA175 with glycophorin A (glyA), its receptor on erythrocytes, restores basal cytosolic calcium levels and triggers release of rhoptry proteins. Our results identify for the first time the external signals responsible for the sequential release of microneme and rhoptry proteins during erythrocyte invasion and provide a starting point for the dissection of signal transduction pathways involved in regulated exocytosis of these key apical organelles. Signaling pathway components involved in apical organelle discharge may serve as novel targets for drug development since inhibition of microneme and rhoptry secretion can block invasion and limit blood-stage parasite growth.

Reddy K.S.,Malaria Group | Amlabu E.,Malaria Group | Pandey A.K.,Malaria Group | Mitra P.,Malaria Group | And 3 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2015

Erythrocyte invasion by Plasmodium falciparum merozoites is a highly intricate process in which Plasmodium falciparum reticulocyte binding-like homologous protein 5 (PfRH5) is an indispensable parasite ligand that binds with its erythrocyte receptor, Basigin. PfRH5 is a leading blood-stage vaccine candidate because it exhibits limited polymorphisms and elicits potent strain-transcending parasite neutralizing antibodies. However, the mechanism by which it is anchored to the merozoite surface remains unknown because both PfRH5 and the PfRH5-interacting protein (PfRipr) lack transmembrane domains and GPI anchors. Here we have identified a conserved GPI-linked parasite protein, Cysteine-rich protective antigen (CyRPA) as an interacting partner of PfRH5-PfRipr that tethers the PfRH5/ PfRipr/CyRPAmultiprotein complex on the merozoite surface. CyRPA was demonstrated to be GPI-linked, localized in the micronemes, and essential for erythrocyte invasion. Specific antibodies against the three proteins successfully detected the intact complex in the parasite and coimmunoprecipitated the three interacting partners. Importantly, full-length CyRPA antibodies displayed potent straintranscending invasion inhibition, as observed for PfRH5. CyRPA does not bind with erythrocytes, suggesting that its parasite neutralizing antibodies likely block its critical interaction with PfRH5-PfRipr, leading to a blockade of erythrocyte invasion. Further, CyRPA and PfRH5 antibody combinations produced synergistic invasion inhibition, suggesting that simultaneous blockade of the PfRH5-Basigin and PfRH5/PfRipr/CyRPA interactions produced an enhanced inhibitory effect. Our discovery of the critical interactions between PfRH5, PfRipr, and the GPI-anchored CyRPA clearly defines the components of the essential PfRH5 adhesion complex for P. falciparum erythrocyte invasion and offers it as a previously unidentified potent target for antimalarial strategies that could abrogate formation of the crucial multiprotein complex.

Ahmad M.,Malaria Group | Tuteja R.,Malaria Group
Gene | Year: 2013

RuvB family of protein contains two similar kinds of proteins i.e. RuvB1 and RuvB2 from yeast to human. These proteins belong to the AAA + class of proteins and are critical components of several multiprotein complexes involved in diverse cellular activities. There are two RuvB proteins annotated in the Plasmodium database but the identification of the third protein recently by our lab has raised the question why Plasmodium falciparum contains three RuvB proteins instead of two. Hence the biochemical characterizations of these proteins have become essential to understand the role of these proteins in the malaria parasite. Recently we have reported the characterization of the recombinant PfRuvB3, which contains ATPase activity but lacks DNA helicase activity. In the present study we report the phylogenetic analysis and detailed biochemical characterization of one of the other RuvB homologue RuvB1 from P. falciparum. PfRuvB1 shows considerable homology with human as well as yeast RuvB1 and contains Walker motif A and Walker motif B. The activity analysis of this protein revealed that PfRuvB1 is an ATPase and this activity increased significantly in the presence of ss-DNA. PfRuvB1 also contains DNA helicase activity and translocates preferentially in 5' to 3' direction. In vivo investigation of PfRuvB1 revealed that it is constitutively expressed during all the stages of intraerythrocytic cycle of P. falciparum and localizes mainly to the nucleus. These studies will make important contribution in understanding the role of RuvB protein in P. falciparum. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Helicases are enzymes which catalyze the unwinding of nucleic acid substrate in an energy-dependent manner. these are characterized by the presence of nine well defined conserved motifs and are essential for almost all the processes involving nucleic acids. Plasmodium falciparum causes the most virulent form of malaria. The control of malaria is becoming complicated due to the spread of resistance of both the mosquito vector and the parasite to insecticides and anti-malarial drugs. Helicases could be used as feasible drug target for control of malaria. the P. falciparum genome is completely sequenced but the annotation is still in progress. To identify members of various well defined helicase families, I used the bioinformatics approach and helicase domain sequences to search the P. falciparum genome sequence database. In addition to the homologues for a number of human helicases, some novel parasite specific helicases were also identified. I describe the members of DEAD-box, DEAH box, RuvB, Superkiller family, RecQ and repair helicases from P. falciparum. the detailed studies of these helicases will help in identifying a specific enzyme, which could be used as potential target to control the replication and transmission of the malaria parasite. © 2010 Landes Bioscience.

Singh S.,Malaria Group | Chitnis C.E.,Malaria Group
Microbes and Infection | Year: 2012

Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites, which belong to the phylum apicomplexa. The characteristic feature of apicomplexan parasites is the presence of apical organelles, referred to as micronemes and rhoptries, in the invasive stages of the parasite life cycle. Survival of these obligate intracellular parasites depends on successful invasion of host cells, which is mediated by specific molecular interactions between host receptors and parasite ligands that are commonly stored in these apical organelles. The timely release of these ligands from apical organelles to the parasite surface is crucial for receptor engagement and invasion. This article is a broad overview of the signalling mechanisms that control the regulated secretion of apical organelles during host cell invasion by apicomplexan parasites. © 2012 Institut Pasteur.

Ahmad M.,Malaria Group | Tuteja R.,Malaria Group
Communicative and Integrative Biology | Year: 2012

The urgent requirement of next generation antimalarials has been of recent interest due to the emergence of drug-resistant parasite. The genome-wide analysis of Plasmodium falciparum helicases revealed three RuvB proteins. Due to the presence of helicase motif I and II in PfRuvBs, there is a high probability that they contain ATPase and possibly helicase activity. The Plasmodium database has homologs of several key proteins that interact with RuvBs and are most likely involved in the cell cycle progression, chromatin remodeling, and other cellular activities. Phylogenetically PfRuvBs are closely related to Saccharomyces cerevisiae RuvB, which is essential for cell cycle progression and survival of yeast. Thus PfRuvBs can serve as potential drug target if they show an essential role in the survival of parasite. © 2012 Landes Bioscience.

Ahmad M.,Malaria Group | Tuteja R.,Malaria Group
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Proteins and Proteomics | Year: 2013

Two similar proteins RuvB like1 (Rvb1/Pontin) and RuvB like2 (Rvb2/Reptin) of AAA + family of enzymes are present in yeast to human and are well known to be involved in diverse cellular activities. The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum contains three different RuvB like proteins. Thus it has been of interest to explore why P. falciparum requires three RuvB like proteins and how these enzymes are biochemically regulated. In this study, we present the detailed biochemical characterization of PfRuvB2. The complex of PfRuvB3 was immunopurified and the presence of PfRuvB2 was confirmed. The in vitro interaction study shows that PfRuvB2 interacts only with PfRuvB3 but not with PfRuvB1. The recombinant as well as endogenous PfRuvB2 contains ATPase as well as weak DNA helicase activities. The presence of PfRuvB3 in the helicase reaction of PfRuvB2 increases the helicase activity significantly. Interestingly PfRuvB2/PfRuvB3 complex preferentially translocates and unwinds DNA in the 5′-3′ direction. In vivo studies showed that PfRuvB2 is expressed in all the asexual intraerythrocytic developmental stages and localizes mainly in the nucleus during merozoite, ring and trophozoite stages while during schizont stage it relocalizes partially in the nucleus and partially towards cytoplasm. As PfRuvB3 is specific to intraerythrocytic mitosis so we interpret that PfPuvB3 interacts with PfRuvB2 during schizont/intraerythrocytic mitosis and acts as its modulator mainly for the appreciable helicase activity. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Tuteja R.,Malaria Group
Communicative and Integrative Biology | Year: 2013

Malaria is still a devastating disease caused by the mosquito-transmitted parasite Plasmodium, particularly Plasmodium falciparum. During the last few years the situation has worsened in many ways, mainly due to malarial parasites becoming increasingly resistant to several anti-malarial drugs. Thus there is an urgent need to find alternate ways to control malaria and therefore it is necessary to identify new drug targets and new classes of anti-malarial drugs. A malaria vaccine would be the ultimate weapon to fight this deadly disease but unfortunately despite encouraging advances a vaccine is not likely soon. DNA helicases from the PcrA/UvrD/Rep (PUR) subfamily are important for the survival of the various organisms, mainly pathogenic bacteria. Members from this subfamily can be targeted and inhibited by a variety of synthetic compounds. Using bioinformatics analysis we have shown that UvrD from this subfamily is the only member present in the P. falciparum genome, while PcrA and Rep are absent in the genome. UvrD from the parasite shows no homology to any protein or enzyme from human and thus can be considered as a strong potential drug target. In the present study we report an in silico analysis of this important enzyme from a variety of Plasmodium species. The results suggest that among all the species of Plasmodium, P. falciparum contains the largest UvrD and this enzyme is variable at the sequence and structural level. © 2013 Landes Bioscience.

Mehta J.,Malaria Group | Tuteja R.,Malaria Group
Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology | Year: 2011

Helicases are ubiquitous essential enzymes which have significant role in the nucleic acid metabolism. Using in silico approaches in the recent past we have identified a number of helicases in the Plasmodium falciparum genome. In the present study we report purification and detailed characterization of a novel helicase from P. falciparum. Our results indicate that this helicase is a homologue of Dbp5 and DDX19 from yeast and human, respectively. The biochemical characterization shows that it contains DNA and RNA unwinding, nucleic acid dependent ATPase and RNA binding activities. It is interesting to note that this enzyme can unwind DNA duplexes in both 5′ to 3′ and 3′ to 5′ directions. Using truncated derivatives we further show that Q motif is essentially required for all of its activities. These studies should make an important contribution in understanding the enzymes involved in nucleic acid metabolism in the parasite. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Tuteja R.,Malaria Group
Parasitology International | Year: 2011

An interesting element of eukaryotic genomes is the large quantity of non-coding intervening sequences commonly known as introns, which regularly interrupt functional genes and therefore must be removed prior to the use of genetic information by the cell. After splicing, the mature RNA is exported from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. Any error in the process of recognition and removal of introns, or splicing, would lead to change in genetic message and thus has potentially catastrophic consequences. Thus splicing is a highly complex essential step in eukaryotic gene expression. It takes place in spliceosome, which is a dynamic RNA-protein complex made of snRNPs and non-snRNP proteins. The splicing process consists of following sequential steps: spliceosome formation, the first transesterification and second transesterification reactions, release of the mature mRNA and recycling of the snRNPs. The spliceosomal components produce a complex network of RNA-RNA, RNA-protein and protein-protein interactions and spliceosome experience remodeling during each splicing cycle. Helicases are essentially required at almost each step for resolution of RNA-RNA and/or RNA-protein interactions. RNA helicases share a highly conserved helicase domain which includes the motif DExD/H in the single letter amino acid code. This article will focus on members of the DExD/H-box proteins involved specially in splicing in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

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