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Characterisation of exogenous folate transport in Plasmodium falciparum



Characterisation of exogenous folate transport in Plasmodium falciparum



Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology 154(1): 40-51



Folate salvage by Plasmodium falciparum is an important source of key cofactors, but little is known about the underlying mechanism. Using synchronised parasite cultures, we observed that uptake of this dianionic species against the negative-inward electrochemical gradient is highly dependent upon cell-cycle stage, temperature and pH, but not on mono- or divalent metal ions. Energy dependence was tested with different sugars; glucose was necessary for folate import, although fructose was also able to function in this role, unlike sugars that cannot be processed through the glycolytic pathway. Import into both infected erythrocytes and free parasites was strongly inhibited by the anion-channel blockers probenecid and furosemide, which are likely to be acting predominantly on specific folate transporters in both cases. Import was not affected by high concentrations of the antifolate drugs pyrimethamine and sulfadoxine, but was inhibited by the close folate analogue methotrexate. The pH optimum for folate uptake into infected erythrocytes was 6.5-7.0. Dinitrophenol and nigericin, which strongly facilitate the equilibration of H(+) ions across biological membranes and thus abolish or substantially reduce the proton gradient, inhibited folate uptake profoundly. The ATPase inhibitor concanamycin A also greatly reduced folate uptake, further demonstrating a link to ATP-powered proton transport. These data strongly suggest that the principal folate uptake pathway in P. falciparum is specific, highly regulated, dependent upon the proton gradient across the parasite plasma membrane, and is likely to be mediated by one or more proton symporters.

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Accession: 013980771

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 17509698

DOI: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2007.04.002


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