An FtsH protease is recruited to the mitochondrion of Plasmodium falciparum.
ABSTRACT: The two organelles, apicoplast and mitochondrion, of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum have unique morphology in liver and blood stages; they undergo complex branching and looping prior to division and segregation into daughter merozoites. Little is known about the molecular processes and proteins involved in organelle biogenesis in the parasite. We report the identification of an AAA+/FtsH protease homolog (PfFtsH1) that exhibits ATP- and Zn(2+)-dependent protease activity. PfFtsH1 undergoes processing, forms oligomeric assemblies, and is associated with the membrane fraction of the parasite cell. Generation of a transfectant parasite line with hemagglutinin-tagged PfFtsH1, and immunofluorescence assay with anti-PfFtsH1 Ab demonstrated that the protein localises to P. falciparum mitochondria. Phylogenetic analysis and the single transmembrane region identifiable in PfFtsH1 suggest that it is an i-AAA like inner mitochondrial membrane protein. Expression of PfFtsH1 in Escherichia coli converted a fraction of bacterial cells into division-defective filamentous forms implying a sequestering effect of the Plasmodium factor on the bacterial homolog, indicative of functional conservation with EcFtsH. These results identify a membrane-associated mitochondrial AAA+/FtsH protease as a candidate regulatory protein for organelle biogenesis in P. falciparum.
Project description:The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and related apicomplexan pathogens contain an essential plastid organelle, the apicoplast, which is a key anti-parasitic target. Derived from secondary endosymbiosis, the apicoplast depends on novel, but largely cryptic, mechanisms for protein/lipid import and organelle inheritance during parasite replication. These critical biogenesis pathways present untapped opportunities to discover new parasite-specific drug targets. We used an innovative screen to identify actinonin as having a novel mechanism-of-action inhibiting apicoplast biogenesis. Resistant mutation, chemical-genetic interaction, and biochemical inhibition demonstrate that the unexpected target of actinonin in P. falciparum and Toxoplasma gondii is FtsH1, a homolog of a bacterial membrane AAA+ metalloprotease. PfFtsH1 is the first novel factor required for apicoplast biogenesis identified in a phenotypic screen. Our findings demonstrate that FtsH1 is a novel and, importantly, druggable antimalarial target. Development of FtsH1 inhibitors will have significant advantages with improved drug kinetics and multistage efficacy against multiple human parasites.
Project description:The ATP-dependent integral membrane protease FtsH is universally conserved in bacteria. Orthologs exist in chloroplasts and mitochondria, where in humans the loss of a close FtsH-homolog causes a form of spastic paraplegia. FtsH plays a crucial role in quality control by degrading unneeded or damaged membrane proteins, but it also targets soluble signaling factors like sigma(32) and lambda-CII. We report here the crystal structure of a soluble FtsH construct that is functional in caseinolytic and ATPase assays. The molecular architecture of this hexameric molecule consists of two rings where the protease domains possess an all-helical fold and form a flat hexagon that is covered by a toroid built by the AAA domains. The active site of the protease classifies FtsH as an Asp-zincin, contrary to a previous report. The different symmetries of protease and AAA rings suggest a possible translocation mechanism of the target polypeptide chain into the interior of the molecule where the proteolytic sites are located.
Project description:Proteases of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum have long been investigated as drug targets. The P. falciparum genome encodes 10 aspartic proteases called plasmepsins, which are involved in diverse cellular processes. Most have been studied extensively but the functions of plasmepsins IX and X (PMIX and PMX) were unknown. Here we show that PMIX is essential for erythrocyte invasion, acting on rhoptry secretory organelle biogenesis. In contrast, PMX is essential for both egress and invasion, controlling maturation of the subtilisin-like serine protease SUB1 in exoneme secretory vesicles. We have identified compounds with potent antimalarial activity targeting PMX, including a compound known to have oral efficacy in a mouse model of malaria.
Project description:The human malaria parasite, <i>Plasmodium falciparum</i>, contains an essential plastid called the apicoplast. Most apicoplast proteins are encoded by the nuclear genome and it is unclear how the plastid proteome is regulated. Here, we study an apicoplast-localized caseinolytic-protease (Clp) system and how it regulates organelle proteostasis. Using null and conditional mutants, we demonstrate that the <i>P. falciparum</i> Clp protease (<i>Pf</i>ClpP) has robust enzymatic activity that is essential for apicoplast biogenesis. We developed a CRISPR/Cas9-based system to express catalytically dead <i>Pf</i>ClpP, which showed that <i>Pf</i>ClpP oligomerizes as a zymogen and is matured via transautocatalysis. The expression of both wild-type and mutant Clp chaperone (<i>Pf</i>ClpC) variants revealed a functional chaperone-protease interaction. Conditional mutants of the substrate-adaptor (<i>Pf</i>ClpS) demonstrated its essential function in plastid biogenesis. A combination of multiple affinity purification screens identified the Clp complex composition as well as putative Clp substrates. This comprehensive study reveals the molecular composition and interactions influencing the proteolytic function of the apicoplast Clp system and demonstrates its central role in the biogenesis of the plastid in malaria parasites.
Project description:The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum harbors a relict, nonphotosynthetic plastid of algal origin termed the apicoplast. Although considerable progress has been made in defining the metabolic functions of the apicoplast, information on the composition and biogenesis of the four delimiting membranes of this organelle is limited. Here, we report an efficient method for preparing highly purified apicoplasts from red blood cell parasite stages and the comprehensive lipidomic analysis of this organelle. Apicoplasts were prepared from transgenic parasites expressing an epitope-tagged triosephosphate transporter and immunopurified on magnetic beads. Gas and liquid chromatography MS analyses of isolated apicoplast lipids indicated significant differences compared with total parasite lipids. In particular, apicoplasts were highly enriched in phosphatidylinositol, consistent with a suggested role for phosphoinositides in targeting membrane vesicles to apicoplasts. Apicoplast phosphatidylinositol and other phospholipids were also enriched in saturated fatty acids, which could reflect limited acyl exchange with other membrane phospholipids and/or a requirement for specific physical properties. Lipids atypical for plastids (sphingomyelins, ceramides, and cholesterol) were detected in apicoplasts. The presence of cholesterol in apicoplast membranes was supported by filipin staining of isolated apicoplasts. Galactoglycerolipids, dominant in plant and algal plastids, were not detected in P. falciparum apicoplasts, suggesting that these glycolipids are a hallmark of photosynthetic plastids and were lost when these organisms assumed a parasitic lifestyle. Apicoplasts thus contain an atypical melange of lipids scavenged from the human host alongside lipids remodeled by the parasite cytoplasm, and stable isotope labeling shows some apicoplast lipids are generated de novo by the organelle itself.
Project description:Caseinolytic chaperones and proteases (Clp) belong to the AAA+ protein superfamily and are part of the protein quality control machinery in cells. The eukaryotic parasite Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of malaria, has evolved an elaborate network of Clp proteins including two distinct ClpB ATPases. ClpB1 and ClpB2 are involved in different aspects of parasitic proteostasis. ClpB1 is present in the apicoplast, a parasite-specific and plastid-like organelle hosting various metabolic pathways necessary for parasite growth. ClpB2 localizes to the parasitophorous vacuole membrane where it drives protein export as core subunit of a parasite-derived protein secretion complex, the Plasmodium Translocon of Exported proteins (PTEX); this process is central to parasite virulence and survival in the human host. The functional associations of these two chaperones with parasite-specific metabolism and protein secretion make them prime drug targets. ClpB proteins function as unfoldases and disaggregases and share a common architecture consisting of four domains-a variable N-terminal domain that binds different protein substrates, followed by two highly conserved catalytic ATPase domains, and a C-terminal domain. Here, we report and compare the first crystal structures of the N terminal domains of ClpB1 and ClpB2 from Plasmodium and analyze their molecular surfaces. Solution scattering analysis of the N domain of ClpB2 shows that the average solution conformation is similar to the crystalline structure. These structures represent the first step towards the characterization of these two malarial chaperones and the reconstitution of the entire PTEX to aid structure-based design of novel anti-malarial drugs.
Project description:ATPases associated with diverse cellular activities (AAA+) proteases utilize ATP hydrolysis to actively unfold native or misfolded proteins and translocate them into a protease chamber for degradation. This basic mechanism yields diverse cellular consequences, including the removal of misfolded proteins, control of regulatory circuits, and remodeling of protein conformation. Among various bacterial AAA+ proteases, FtsH is only membrane-integrated and plays a key role in membrane protein quality control. Previously, we have shown that FtsH has substantial unfoldase activity for degrading membrane proteins overcoming a dual energetic burden of substrate unfolding and membrane dislocation. Here, we asked how efficiently FtsH utilizes ATP hydrolysis to degrade membrane proteins. To answer this question, we measured degradation rates of the model membrane substrate GlpG at various ATP hydrolysis rates in the lipid bilayers. We find that the dependence of degradation rates on ATP hydrolysis rates is highly nonlinear: (i) FtsH cannot degrade GlpG until it reaches a threshold ATP hydrolysis rate; (ii) after exceeding the threshold, the degradation rates steeply increase and saturate at the ATP hydrolysis rates far below the maxima. During the steep increase, FtsH efficiently utilizes ATP hydrolysis for degradation, consuming only 40-60% of the total ATP cost measured at the maximal ATP hydrolysis rates. This behavior does not fundamentally change against water-soluble substrates as well as upon addition of the macromolecular crowding agent Ficoll 70. The Hill analysis shows that the nonlinearity stems from coupling of three to five ATP hydrolysis events to degradation, which represents unique cooperativity compared to other AAA+ proteases including ClpXP, HslUV, Lon, and proteasomes.
Project description:The hexameric membrane-spanning ATP-dependent metalloprotease FtsH is universally conserved in eubacteria, mitochondria, and chloroplasts, where it fulfills key functions in quality control and signaling. As a member of the self-compartmentalizing ATPases associated with various cellular activities (AAA+ proteases), FtsH converts the chemical energy stored in ATP via conformational rearrangements into a mechanical force that is used for substrate unfolding and translocation into the proteolytic chamber. The crystal structure of the ADP state of Thermotoga maritima FtsH showed a hexameric assembly consisting of a 6-fold symmetric protease disk and a 2-fold symmetric AAA ring. The 2.6 A resolution structure of the cytosolic region of apo-FtsH presented here reveals a new arrangement where the ATPase ring shows perfect 6-fold symmetry with the crucial pore residues lining an open circular entrance. Triggered by this conformational change, a substrate-binding edge beta strand appears within the proteolytic domain. Comparison of the apo- and ADP-bound structure visualizes an inward movement of the aromatic pore residues and generates a model of substrate translocation by AAA+ proteases. Furthermore, we demonstrate that mutation of a conserved glycine in the linker region inactivates FtsH.
Project description:Phosphoinositides are important regulators of diverse cellular functions, and phosphatidylinositol 3-monophosphate (PI3P) is a key element in vesicular trafficking processes. During its intraerythrocytic development, the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum establishes a sophisticated but poorly characterized protein and lipid trafficking system. Here we established the detailed phosphoinositide profile of P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes and found abundant amounts of PI3P, while phosphatidylinositol 3,5-bisphosphate was not detected. PI3P production was parasite dependent, sensitive to a phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3-kinase) inhibitor, and predominant in late parasite stages. The Plasmodium genome encodes a class III PI3-kinase of unusual size, containing large insertions and several repetitive sequence motifs. The gene could not be deleted in Plasmodium berghei, and in vitro growth of P. falciparum was sensitive to a PI3-kinase inhibitor, indicating that PI3-kinase is essential in Plasmodium blood stages. For intraparasitic PI3P localization, transgenic P. falciparum that expressed a PI3P-specific fluorescent probe was generated. Fluorescence was associated mainly with the membrane of the food vacuole and with the apicoplast, a four-membrane bounded plastid-like organelle derived from an ancestral secondary endosymbiosis event. Electron microscopy analysis confirmed these findings and revealed, in addition, the presence of PI3P-positive single-membrane vesicles. We hypothesize that these vesicles might be involved in transport processes, likely of proteins and lipids, toward the essential and peculiar parasite compartment, which is the apicoplast. The fact that PI3P metabolism and function in Plasmodium appear to be substantially different from those in its human host could offer new possibilities for antimalarial chemotherapy.
Project description:The process of human erythrocyte invasion by Plasmodium falciparum parasites involves a calcium-dependent serine protease with properties consistent with a subtilisin-like activity. This enzyme achieves the last crucial maturation step of merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1) necessary for parasite entry into the host erythrocyte. In eukaryotic cells, such processing steps are performed by subtilisin-like maturases, known as proprotein convertases. In an attempt to characterize the MSP1 maturase, we have identified a gene that encodes a P. falciparum subtilisin-like protease (PfSUB2) whose deduced active site sequence resembles more bacterial subtilisins. Therefore, we propose that PfSUB2 belongs to a subclass of eukaryotic subtilisins different from proprotein convertases. Pfsub2 is expressed during merozoite differentiation and encodes an integral membrane protein localized in the merozoite dense granules, a secretory organelle whose contents are believed to participate in a late step of the erythrocyte invasion. PfSUB2's subcellular localization, together with its predicted enzymatic properties, leads us to propose that PfSUB2 could be responsible for the late MSP1 maturation step and thus is an attractive target for the development of new antimalarial drugs.