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The knock-down of the chloroquine resistance transporter PfCRT is linked to oligopeptide handling in Plasmodium falciparum

Citation

Lanzer, Michael (2022), The knock-down of the chloroquine resistance transporter PfCRT is linked to oligopeptide handling in Plasmodium falciparum, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.573n5tb9c

Abstract

The chloroquine resistance transporter, PfCRT, is an essential factor during intraerythrocytic development of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. PfCRT resides at the digestive vacuole of the parasite, where hemoglobin taken up by the parasite from its host cell is degraded. PfCRT can acquire several mutations that render PfCRT a drug transporting system expelling compounds targeting hemoglobin degradation from the digestive vacuole. The non-drug related function of PfCRT is less clear, although a recent study has suggested a role in oligopeptide transport based on studies conducted in a heterologous expression system. The uncertainty about the natural function of PfCRT is partly due to a lack of a null mutant and a dearth of functional assays in the parasite. Here, we report on the generation of a conditional PfCRT knock-down mutant in P. falciparum. The mutant accumulated oligopeptides 2 to at least 8 residues in length under knock-down conditions, as shown by comparative global metabolomics. The accumulated oligopeptides were structurally diverse, had an isoelectric point between 4.0 and 5.4 and were electrically neutral or carried a single charge at the digestive vacuolar pH of 5.2. Fluorescently-labeled dipeptides and live cell imaging identified the digestive vacuole as the compartment where oligopeptides accumulated. Our findings suggest a function of PfCRT in oligopeptide transport across the digestive vacuolar membrane in P. falciparum and associated with it a role in nutrient acquisition and the maintenance of the colloid osmotic balance.

Methods

This file contains the data underpining the article by Sanchez et al. 2022 (Microbiology Spectrum).

Funding

Wellcome Trust, Award: 104111/Z/14/Z