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A Malaria Parasite-encoded Vacuolar H superscript +-ATPase Is Targeted to the Host Erythrocyte



A Malaria Parasite-encoded Vacuolar H superscript +-ATPase Is Targeted to the Host Erythrocyte



Journal of biological chemistry4 280(44): 36841-36847



The asexual development of malaria parasites inside the erythrocyte is accompanied by changes in the composition, structure, and function of the host cell membrane and cytoplasm. The parasite exports a membrane network into the host cytoplasm and several proteins that are inserted into the erythrocyte membrane, although none of these proteins has been shown to have enzymatic activity. We report here that a functional malaria parasite-encoded vacuolar (V)-H superscript +-ATPase is exported to the erythrocyte and localized in membranous structures and in the plasma membrane of the infected erythrocyte. This localization was determined by separation of parasite and erythrocyte membranes and determination of enzyme marker activities and by immunofluorescence microscopy assays using antibodies against the B subunit of the malarial V-H superscript +-ATPase and erythrocyte (spectrins) and parasite (merozoite surface protein 1) markers. Our results suggest that this pump has a role in the maintenance of the intracellular pH (pH[subscript i]) of the infected erythrocyte. Our results also indicate that although the pH[subscript i] maintained by the V-H superscript +-ATPase is important for maximum uptake of small metabolites at equilibrium, it does not appear to affect transport across the erythrocyte membrane and is, therefore, not involved in the previously described phenomenon of increased permeability of infected erythrocytes that is sensitive to chloride channel inhibitors (new permeation pathway). This constitutes the first report of the presence of a functional enzyme of parasite origin in the plasma membrane of its host.

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