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Xanthurenic acid induces gametogenesis in Plasmodium, the malaria parasite

Xanthurenic acid induces gametogenesis in Plasmodium, the malaria parasite

Journal of Biological Chemistry 273(20): 12003-5

A small, heat stable chromophore extracted from mosquitoes has recently been implicated as the signal that induces mating of Plasmodium, the malaria parasite. We have used high resolution electrospray mass spectrometry to determine that this gamete activation factor (GAF) has a m/z = 205.0450, suggesting a molecular species composition of C10H7NO4. Xanthurenic acid (XA), a product of tryptophan catabolism, was determined to have an elemental composition, ultraviolet absorbance maxima, and mass spectrum consistent with those characteristics of GAF. XA activated gametogenesis of Plasmodium gallinaceum and P. falciparum in vitro at concentrations lower than 0.5 microM in saline buffered to pH 7.4. A structural analog of XA, kynurenic acid (C10H6NO3), also activated gametogenesis but only at higher concentrations and with less effect. We propose that XA is GAF. This is the first evidence that XA has induction activity.

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Accession: 003338107

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PMID: 9575140

DOI: 10.1074/jbc.273.20.12003

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