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    The Plasmodium falciparum parasitophorous vacuole protein P113 interacts with the parasite protein export machinery and maintains normal vacuole architecture.
    Bullen, HE ; Sanders, PR ; Dans, MG ; Jonsdottir, TK ; Riglar, DT ; Looker, O ; Palmer, CS ; Kouskousis, B ; Charnaud, SC ; Triglia, T ; Gabriela, M ; Parkyn Schneider, M ; Chan, J-A ; de Koning-Ward, TF ; Baum, J ; Kazura, JW ; Beeson, JG ; Cowman, AF ; Gilson, PR ; Crabb, BS (Wiley, 2022-05)
    Infection with Plasmodium falciparum parasites results in approximately 627,000 deaths from malaria annually. Key to the parasite's success is their ability to invade and subsequently grow within human erythrocytes. Parasite proteins involved in parasite invasion and proliferation are therefore intrinsically of great interest, as targeting these proteins could provide novel means of therapeutic intervention. One such protein is P113 which has been reported to be both an invasion protein and an intracellular protein located within the parasitophorous vacuole (PV). The PV is delimited by a membrane (PVM) across which a plethora of parasite-specific proteins are exported via the Plasmodium Translocon of Exported proteins (PTEX) into the erythrocyte to enact various immune evasion functions. To better understand the role of P113 we isolated its binding partners from in vitro cultures of P. falciparum. We detected interactions with the protein export machinery (PTEX and exported protein-interacting complex) and a variety of proteins that either transit through the PV or reside on the parasite plasma membrane. Genetic knockdown or partial deletion of P113 did not significantly reduce parasite growth or protein export but did disrupt the morphology of the PVM, suggesting that P113 may play a role in maintaining normal PVM architecture.
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    RhopH2 and RhopH3 export enables assembly of the RhopH complex on P. falciparum-infected erythrocyte membranes
    Pasternak, M ; Verhoef, JMJ ; Wong, W ; Triglia, T ; Mlodzianoski, MJ ; Geoghegan, N ; Evelyn, C ; Wardak, AZ ; Rogers, K ; Cowmarc, AF (NATURE PORTFOLIO, 2022-04-07)
    RhopH complexes consists of Clag3, RhopH2 and RhopH3 and are essential for growth of Plasmodium falciparum inside infected erythrocytes. Proteins are released from rhoptry organelles during merozoite invasion and trafficked to the surface of infected erythrocytes and enable uptake of nutrients. RhopH3, unlike other RhopH proteins, is required for parasite invasion, suggesting some cellular processes RhopH proteins function as single players rather than a complex. We show the RhopH complex has not formed during merozoite invasion. Clag3 is directly released into the host cell cytoplasm, whilst RhopH2 and RhopH3 are released into the nascent parasitophorous vacuole. Export of RhopH2 and RhopH3 from the parasitophorous vacuole into the infected erythrocyte cytoplasm enables assembly of Clag3/RhopH2/RhopH3 complexes and incorporation into the host cell membrane concomitant with activation of nutrient uptake. This suggests compartmentalisation prevents premature channel assembly before intact complex is assembled at the host cell membrane.
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    4D analysis of malaria parasite invasion offers insights into erythrocyte membrane remodeling and parasitophorous vacuole formation
    Geoghegan, ND ; Evelyn, C ; Whitehead, LW ; Pasternak, M ; McDonald, P ; Triglia, T ; Marapana, DS ; Kempe, D ; Thompson, JK ; Mlodzianoski, MJ ; Healer, J ; Biro, M ; Cowman, AF ; Rogers, KL (NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-06-15)
    Host membrane remodeling is indispensable for viruses, bacteria, and parasites, to subvert the membrane barrier and obtain entry into cells. The malaria parasite Plasmodium spp. induces biophysical and molecular changes to the erythrocyte membrane through the ordered secretion of its apical organelles. To understand this process and address the debate regarding how the parasitophorous vacuole membrane (PVM) is formed, we developed an approach using lattice light-sheet microscopy, which enables the parasite interaction with the host cell membrane to be tracked and characterized during invasion. Our results show that the PVM is predominantly formed from the erythrocyte membrane, which undergoes biophysical changes as it is remodeled across all stages of invasion, from pre-invasion through to PVM sealing. This approach enables a functional interrogation of parasite-derived lipids and proteins in PVM biogenesis and echinocytosis during Plasmodium falciparum invasion and promises to yield mechanistic insights regarding how this is more generally orchestrated by other intracellular pathogens.
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    Dual Plasmepsin-Targeting Antimalarial Agents Disrupt Multiple Stages of the Malaria Parasite Life Cycle
    Favuzza, P ; Ruiz, MDL ; Thompson, JK ; Triglia, T ; Ngo, A ; Steel, RWJ ; Vavrek, M ; Christensen, J ; Healer, J ; Boyce, C ; Guo, Z ; Hu, M ; Khan, T ; Murgolo, N ; Zhao, L ; Penington, JS ; Reaksudsan, K ; Jarman, K ; Dietrich, MH ; Richardson, L ; Guo, K-Y ; Lopaticki, S ; Tham, W-H ; Rottmann, M ; Papenfuss, T ; Robbins, JA ; Boddey, JA ; Sleebs, BE ; Sabroux, HJ ; McCauley, JA ; Olsen, DB ; Cowman, AF (CELL PRESS, 2020-04-08)
    Artemisin combination therapy (ACT) is the main treatment option for malaria, which is caused by the intracellular parasite Plasmodium. However, increased resistance to ACT highlights the importance of finding new drugs. Recently, the aspartic proteases Plasmepsin IX and X (PMIX and PMX) were identified as promising drug targets. In this study, we describe dual inhibitors of PMIX and PMX, including WM382, that block multiple stages of the Plasmodium life cycle. We demonstrate that PMX is a master modulator of merozoite invasion and direct maturation of proteins required for invasion, parasite development, and egress. Oral administration of WM382 cured mice of P. berghei and prevented blood infection from the liver. In addition, WM382 was efficacious against P. falciparum asexual infection in humanized mice and prevented transmission to mosquitoes. Selection of resistant P. falciparum in vitro was not achievable. Together, these show that dual PMIX and PMX inhibitors are promising candidates for malaria treatment and prevention.
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    Reticulocyte binding protein homologues are key adhesins during erythrocyte invasion by Plasmodium falciparum
    Triglia, T ; Tham, W-H ; Hodder, A ; Cowman, AF (WILEY, 2009-11-01)
    The Apicomplexan parasite responsible for the most virulent form of malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, invades human erythrocytes through multiple ligand-receptor interactions. The P. falciparum reticulocyte-binding protein homologue (PfRh or PfRBL) family have been implicated in the invasion process but their exact role is unknown. PfRh1 and PfRh4, members of this protein family, bind to red blood cells and function in merozoite invasion during which they undergo a series of proteolytic cleavage events before and during entry into the host cell. The ectodomain of PfRh1 and PfRh4 are processed to produce fragments consistent with cleavage in the transmembrane domain and released into the supernatant, at about the time of invasion, in a manner consistent with rhomboid protease cleavage. Processing of both PfRh1 and PfRh4, and by extrapolation all membrane-bound members of this protein family, is important for function and release of these proteins on the merozoite surface and they along with EBA-175 are important components of the tight junction, the transient structure that links the erythrocyte via receptor-ligand interactions to the actin-myosin motor in the invading merozoite.
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    Analysis of structure and function of the giant protein Pf332 in Plasmodium falciparum
    Hodder, AN ; Maier, AG ; Rug, M ; Brown, M ; Hommel, M ; Pantic, I ; Puig-de-Morales-Marinkovic, M ; Smith, B ; Triglia, T ; Beeson, J ; Cowman, AF (WILEY, 2009-01-01)
    Virulence of Plasmodium falciparum, the most lethal parasitic disease in humans, results in part from adhesiveness and increased rigidity of infected erythrocytes. Pf332 is trafficked to the parasite-infected erythrocyte via Maurer's clefts, structures for protein sorting and export in the host erythrocyte. This protein has a domain similar to the Duffy-binding-like (DBL) domain, which functions by binding to receptors for adherence and invasion. To address structure of the Pf332 DBL domain, we expressed this region, and validated its fold on the basis of the disulphide bond pattern, which conformed to the generic pattern for DBL domains. The modelled structure for Pf332 DBL had differences compared with the erythrocyte-binding region of the alphaDBL domain of Plasmodium knowlesi Duffy-binding protein (Pk alpha-DBL). We addressed the function of Pf332 by constructing parasites that either lack expression of the protein or express an altered form. We found no evidence that Pf332 is involved in cytoadhesion or merozoite invasion. Truncation of Pf332 had a significant effect on deformability of the P. falciparum-infected erythrocyte, while loss of the full protein deletion did not. Our data suggest that Pf332 may contribute to the overall deformability of the P. falciparum-infected erythrocyte by anchoring and scaffolding.
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    Plasmodium falciparum Merozoite Invasion Is Inhibited by Antibodies that Target the PfRh2a and b Binding Domains
    Triglia, T ; Chen, L ; Lopaticki, S ; Dekiwadia, C ; Riglar, DT ; Hodder, AN ; Ralph, SA ; Baum, J ; Cowman, AF ; Kazura, JW (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2011-06-01)
    Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of the most severe form of malaria in humans invades erythrocytes using multiple ligand-receptor interactions. The P. falciparum reticulocyte binding-like homologue proteins (PfRh or PfRBL) are important for entry of the invasive merozoite form of the parasite into red blood cells. We have analysed two members of this protein family, PfRh2a and PfRh2b, and show they undergo a complex series of proteolytic cleavage events before and during merozoite invasion. We show that PfRh2a undergoes a cleavage event in the transmembrane region during invasion consistent with activity of the membrane associated PfROM4 protease that would result in release of the ectodomain into the supernatant. We also show that PfRh2a and PfRh2b bind to red blood cells and have defined the erythrocyte-binding domain to a 15 kDa region at the N-terminus of each protein. Antibodies to this receptor-binding region block merozoite invasion demonstrating the important function of this domain. This region of PfRh2a and PfRh2b has potential in a combination vaccine with other erythrocyte binding ligands for induction of antibodies that would block a broad range of invasion pathways for P. falciparum into human erythrocytes.
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    Plasmodium Merozoite TRAP Family Protein Is Essential for Vacuole Membrane Disruption and Gamete Egress from Erythrocytes
    Bargieri, DY ; Thiberge, S ; Tay, CL ; Carey, AF ; Rantz, A ; Hischen, F ; Lorthiois, A ; Straschil, U ; Singh, P ; Singh, S ; Triglia, T ; Tsuboi, T ; Cowman, A ; Chitnis, C ; Alano, P ; Baum, J ; Pradel, G ; Lavazec, C ; Menard, R (CELL PRESS, 2016-11-09)
    Surface-associated TRAP (thrombospondin-related anonymous protein) family proteins are conserved across the phylum of apicomplexan parasites. TRAP proteins are thought to play an integral role in parasite motility and cell invasion by linking the extracellular environment with the parasite submembrane actomyosin motor. Blood stage forms of the malaria parasite Plasmodium express a TRAP family protein called merozoite-TRAP (MTRAP) that has been implicated in erythrocyte invasion. Using MTRAP-deficient mutants of the rodent-infecting P. berghei and human-infecting P. falciparum parasites, we show that MTRAP is dispensable for erythrocyte invasion. Instead, MTRAP is essential for gamete egress from erythrocytes, where it is necessary for the disruption of the gamete-containing parasitophorous vacuole membrane, and thus for parasite transmission to mosquitoes. This indicates that motor-binding TRAP family members function not just in parasite motility and cell invasion but also in membrane disruption and cell egress.
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    TLiSA1, a human T lineage-specific activation antigen involved in the differentiation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes and anomalous killer cells from their precursors.
    Burns, GF ; Triglia, T ; Werkmeister, JA ; Begley, CG ; Boyd, AW (Rockefeller University Press, 1985-05-01)
    The characteristics of a novel T lineage-specific activation antigen, termed TLiSA1, are described. The antigen was detected with a mouse monoclonal antibody, LeoA1, that was raised against activated human T cells generated in mixed lymphocyte culture (MLC). The antigen became strongly expressed on T cells 48-72 h after stimulation with phytohemagglutinin, and retained expression on MLC-activated T cells after 10 d of culture. The antigen was absent from a range of human T, B, myeloid, fibroblast, and tumour cell lines, but was present on the surface of the interleukin 2 (IL-2)-dependent gibbon cell line MLA-144. Analysis of the antigen by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of immunoprecipitates obtained from activated human T cells demonstrated a broad band in the region of 70 kD, whereas precipitates obtained from MLA-144 revealed a single narrow band of 95 kD. The molecule was expressed with a maximum density of 66,000 copies per cell on the surface of MLC-activated T cell blasts, as assessed by Scatchard analysis. TLiSA1 was distinguished from the IL-2 receptor bound by the anti-Tac monoclonal antibody by demonstrating that the antigens did not comodulate or coprecipitate, and by constructing an IL-2-independent human T X T hybrid that expressed the TLiSA1 but not the Tac antigen. MLC with B lymphoblasts was used to generate cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) specific for the stimulating cell, and anomalous killer (AK) cells able to kill melanoma target cells. The presence of LeoA1 or F(ab')2 fragments of the antibody from the beginning of coculture did not affect proliferation in these cultures, but did inhibit the induction of both CTL and AK cells from their precursors. This inhibition of differentiation by LeoA1 was confirmed under conditions of limiting dilution, where it was shown that the antibody reduced the frequency of CTL produced, and greatly (fourfold) reduced the frequency of AK cells generated from their precursors. We discuss the possibility that human CTL may express a differentiation factor receptor that is distinct from the receptor for IL-2.
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    Protein Kinase A Is Essential for Invasion of Plasmodium falciparum into Human Erythrocytes
    Wilde, M-L ; Triglia, T ; Marapana, D ; Thompson, JK ; Kouzmitchev, AA ; Bullen, HE ; Gilson, PR ; Cowman, AF ; Tonkin, CJ ; Soldati-Favre, D (AMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY, 2019-09-01)
    Understanding the mechanisms behind host cell invasion by Plasmodium falciparum remains a major hurdle to developing antimalarial therapeutics that target the asexual cycle and the symptomatic stage of malaria. Host cell entry is enabled by a multitude of precisely timed and tightly regulated receptor-ligand interactions. Cyclic nucleotide signaling has been implicated in regulating parasite invasion, and an important downstream effector of the cAMP-signaling pathway is protein kinase A (PKA), a cAMP-dependent protein kinase. There is increasing evidence that P. falciparum PKA (PfPKA) is responsible for phosphorylation of the cytoplasmic domain of P. falciparum apical membrane antigen 1 (PfAMA1) at Ser610, a cAMP-dependent event that is crucial for successful parasite invasion. In the present study, CRISPR-Cas9 and conditional gene deletion (dimerizable cre) technologies were implemented to generate a P. falciparum parasite line in which expression of the catalytic subunit of PfPKA (PfPKAc) is under conditional control, demonstrating highly efficient dimerizable Cre recombinase (DiCre)-mediated gene excision and complete knockdown of protein expression. Parasites lacking PfPKAc show severely reduced growth after one intraerythrocytic growth cycle and are deficient in host cell invasion, as highlighted by live-imaging experiments. Furthermore, PfPKAc-deficient parasites are unable to phosphorylate PfAMA1 at Ser610. This work not only identifies an essential role for PfPKAc in the P. falciparum asexual life cycle but also confirms that PfPKAc is the kinase responsible for phosphorylating PfAMA1 Ser610.IMPORTANCE Malaria continues to present a major global health burden, particularly in low-resource countries. Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite responsible for the most severe form of malaria, causes disease through rapid and repeated rounds of invasion and replication within red blood cells. Invasion into red blood cells is essential for P. falciparum survival, and the molecular events mediating this process have gained much attention as potential therapeutic targets. With no effective vaccine available, and with the emergence of resistance to antimalarials, there is an urgent need for the development of new therapeutics. Our research has used genetic techniques to provide evidence of an essential protein kinase involved in P. falciparum invasion. Our work adds to the current understanding of parasite signaling processes required for invasion, highlighting PKA as a potential drug target to inhibit invasion for the treatment of malaria.