A lipocalin mediates unidirectional heme biomineralization in malaria parasites

Matz, Joachim M. and Drepper, Benjamin and Blum, Thorsten B. and van Genderen, Eric and Burrell, Alana and Martin, Peer and Stach, Thomas and Collinson, Lucy M. and Abrahams, Jan Pieter and Matuschewski, Kai and Blackman, Michael J.. (2020) A lipocalin mediates unidirectional heme biomineralization in malaria parasites. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117 (28). pp. 16546-16556.

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During blood-stage development, malaria parasites are challenged with the detoxification of enormous amounts of heme released during the proteolytic catabolism of erythrocytic hemoglobin. They tackle this problem by sequestering heme into bioinert crystals known as hemozoin. The mechanisms underlying this biomineralization process remain enigmatic. Here, we demonstrate that both rodent and human malaria parasite species secrete and internalize a lipocalin-like protein, PV5, to control heme crystallization. Transcriptional deregulation of; PV5; in the rodent parasite; Plasmodium berghei; results in inordinate elongation of hemozoin crystals, while conditional; PV5; inactivation in the human malaria agent; Plasmodium falciparum; causes excessive multidirectional crystal branching. Although hemoglobin processing remains unaffected, PV5-deficient parasites generate less hemozoin. Electron diffraction analysis indicates that despite the distinct changes in crystal morphology, neither the crystalline order nor unit cell of hemozoin are affected by impaired PV5 function. Deregulation of; PV5; expression renders; P. berghei; hypersensitive to the antimalarial drugs artesunate, chloroquine, and atovaquone, resulting in accelerated parasite clearance following drug treatment in vivo. Together, our findings demonstrate the; Plasmodium; -tailored role of a lipocalin family member in hemozoin formation and underscore the heme biomineralization pathway as an attractive target for therapeutic exploitation.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Biozentrum > Structural Biology & Biophysics > Nano-diffraction of Biological Specimen (Abrahams)
UniBasel Contributors:Abrahams, Jan Pieter
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:14 Feb 2023 10:45
Deposited On:20 Apr 2021 12:09

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