A newly discovered protein export machine in malaria parasites

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Abstract

Several hundred malaria parasite proteins are exported beyond an encasing vacuole and into the cytosol of the host erythrocyte, a process that is central to the virulence and viability of the causativePlasmodiumspecies. The trafficking machinery responsible for this export is unknown. Here we identify inPlasmodium falciparuma translocon of exported proteins (PTEX), which is located in the vacuole membrane. The PTEX complex is ATP-powered, and comprises heat shock protein 101 (HSP101; a ClpA/B-like ATPase from the AAA+ superfamily, of a type commonly associated with protein translocons), a novel protein termed PTEX150 and a known parasite protein, exported protein 2 (EXP2). EXP2 is the potential channel, as it is the membrane-associated component of the core PTEX complex. Two other proteins, a new protein PTEX88 and thioredoxin 2 (TRX2), were also identified as PTEX components. As a common portal for numerous crucial processes, this translocon offers a new avenue for therapeutic intervention.

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