Sites of Interaction between Aldolase and Thrombospondin-related Anonymous Protein in Plasmodium

Carlos A. Buscaglia, Isabelle Coppens, Wim G.J. Hol, Victor Nussenzweig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gliding motility and host cell invasion by apicomplexan parasites are empowered by an acto-myosin motor located underneath the parasite plasma membrane. The motor is connected to host cell receptors through trans-membrane invasins belonging to the thrombospondin-related anonymous protein (TRAP) family. A recent study indicates that aldolase bridges the cytoplasmic tail of MIC2, the homologous TRAP protein in Toxoplasma, and actin. Here, we confirm these unexpected findings in Plasmodium sporozoites and identify conserved features of the TRAP family cytoplasmic tail required to bind aldolase: a subterminal tryptophan residue and two noncontiguous stretches of negatively charged amino acids. The aldolase substrate and other compounds that bind to the active site inhibit its interaction with TRAP and with F-actin, suggesting that the function of the motor is metabolically regulated. Ultrastructural studies in salivary gland sporozoites localize aldolase to the periphery of the secretory micronemes containing TRAP. Thus, the interaction between aldolase and the TRAP tail takes place during or preceding the biogenesis of the micronemes. The release of their contents in the anterior pole of the parasite upon contact with the target cells should bring simultaneously aldolase, TRAP and perhaps F-actin to the proper subcellular location where the motor is engaged.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4947-4957
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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