|Title||Significance of Plasmodium berghei Amino Acid Transporter 1 in Food Vacuole Functionality and Its Association with Cerebral Pathogenesis [Mass Spectrometry Facility - Metabolomics]|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2023|
|Authors||Anand A, Chandana M, Ghosh S, Das R, Singh N, Vaishalli PMini, Gantasala NPrasad, Padmanaban G, Nagaraj VArun|
|Date Published||2023 Mar 28|
The food vacuole plays a central role in the blood stage of parasite development by digesting host hemoglobin acquired from red blood cells and detoxifying the host heme released during hemoglobin digestion into hemozoin. Blood-stage parasites undergo periodic schizont bursts, releasing food vacuoles containing hemozoin. Clinical studies in malaria-infected patients and animal studies have shown the association of hemozoin with disease pathogenesis and abnormal host immune responses in malaria. Here, we perform a detailed characterization of putative Plasmodium berghei amino acid transporter 1 localized in the food vacuole to understand its significance in the malaria parasite. We show that the targeted deletion of amino acid transporter 1 in Plasmodium berghei leads to a swollen food vacuole phenotype with the accumulation of host hemoglobin-derived peptides. Plasmodium berghei amino acid transporter 1-knockout parasites produce less hemozoin, and the hemozoin crystals display a thin morphology compared with wild-type parasites. The knockout parasites show reduced sensitivity to chloroquine and amodiaquine by showing recrudescence. More importantly, mice infected with the knockout parasites are protected from cerebral malaria and display reduced neuronal inflammation and cerebral complications. Genetic complementation of the knockout parasites restores the food vacuole morphology with hemozoin levels similar to that of wild-type parasites, causing cerebral malaria in the infected mice. The knockout parasites also show a significant delay in male gametocyte exflagellation. Our findings highlight the significance of amino acid transporter 1 in food vacuole functionality and its association with malaria pathogenesis and gametocyte development. Food vacuoles of the malaria parasite are involved in the degradation of red blood cell hemoglobin. The amino acids derived from hemoglobin degradation support parasite growth, and the heme released is detoxified into hemozoin. Antimalarials such as quinolines target hemozoin formation in the food vacuole. Food vacuole transporters transport hemoglobin-derived amino acids and peptides from the food vacuole to the parasite cytosol. Such transporters are also associated with drug resistance. Here, we show that the deletion of amino acid transporter 1 in Plasmodium berghei leads to swollen food vacuoles with the accumulation of hemoglobin-derived peptides. The transporter-deleted parasites generate less hemozoin with thin crystal morphology and show reduced sensitivity to quinolines. Mice infected with transporter-deleted parasites are protected from cerebral malaria. There is also a delay in male gametocyte exflagellation, affecting transmission. Our findings uncover the functional significance of amino acid transporter 1 in the life cycle of the malaria parasite.
|Alternate Journal||Microbiol Spectr|