Transposon mutagenesis identifies genes essential for Plasmodium falciparum gametocytogenesis

Hiromi Ikadai, Kathryn Shaw Saliba, Stefan M. Kanzok, Kyle J. McLean, Takeshi Q. Tanaka, Jun Cao, Kim C. Williamson, Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gametocytes are essential for Plasmodium transmission, but little is known about the mechanisms that lead to their formation. Using piggyBac transposon-mediated insertional mutagenesis, we screened for parasites that no longer form mature gametocytes, which led to the isolation of 29 clones (insertional gametocyte-deficient mutants) that fail to form mature gametocytes. Additional analysis revealed 16 genes putatively responsible for the loss of gametocytogenesis, none of which has been previously implicated in gametocytogenesis. Transcriptional profiling and detection of an early stage gametocyte antigen determined that a subset of these mutants arrests development at stage I or in early stage II gametocytes, likely representing genes involved in gametocyte maturation. The remaining mutants seem to arrest before formation of stage I gametocytes and may represent genes involved in commitment to the gametocyte lineage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1676-E1684
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number18
StatePublished - Apr 30 2013


  • Gametocyte development
  • Malaria
  • PiggyBac insertional mutagenesis
  • Plasmodium genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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