Structural basis for chirality and directional motility of Plasmodium sporozoites

Kudryashev, Mikhail and Münter, Sylvia and Lemgruber, Leandro and Montagna, Georgina and Stahlberg, Henning and Matuschewski, Kai and Meissner, Markus and Cyrklaff, Marek and Frischknecht, Friedrich. (2012) Structural basis for chirality and directional motility of Plasmodium sporozoites. Cellular microbiology, Vol. 14, H. 11. pp. 1757-1768.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6056069

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Plasmodium sporozoites can move at high speed for several tens of minutes, which is essential for the initial stage of a malaria infection. The crescent-shaped sporozoites move on 2D substrates preferably in the same direction on circular paths giving raise to helical paths in 3D matrices. Here we determined the structural basis that underlies this type of movement. Immature, non-motile sporozoites were found to lack the subpellicular network required for obtaining the crescent parasite shape. In vitro, parasites moving in the favoured direction move faster and more persistent than the few parasites that move in the opposite direction. Photobleaching experiments showed that sporozoites flip their ventral side up when switching the direction of migration. Cryo-electron tomography revealed a polarized arrangement of microtubules and polar rings towards the substrate in Plasmodium sporozoites, but not in the related parasite Toxoplasma gondii. As aconsequence, secretory vesicles, which release proteins involved in adhesion, migration and invasion at the front end of the parasite, are delivered towards the substrate. The resulting chiral structure of the parasite appears to determine the unique directionality of movement and could explain how the sporozoite achieves rapid and sustained directional motility in the absence of external stimuli.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Biozentrum > Former Organization Units Biozentrum > Structural Biology (Stahlberg)
UniBasel Contributors:Stahlberg, Henning
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:01 Feb 2013 08:46
Deposited On:01 Feb 2013 08:41

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