Neutral lipid synthesis and storage in the intraerythrocytic stages of Plasmodium falciparum

Ole Vielemeyer, Michael T. McIntosh, Keith A Joiner, Isabelle Coppens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In eukaryotic cells the neutral lipids, steryl esters and triacylglycerol, are synthesized by membrane-bound O-acyltransferases and stored in cytosolic lipid bodies. We show here that the intraerythrocytic stages of Plasmodium falciparum produce triacylglycerol using oleate and diacylglycerol as substrates. Parasite membrane preparations reveal a synthesis rate of 4.5±0.8pmolmin-1mg-1 of protein with maximal production occurring in the mid- and late-trophozoite stages in both, membrane preparations and live parasites. In contrast to other eukaryotic cells, no discernable amounts of steryl esters are produced, and the parasite is insensitive to cholesterol esterification inhibitors. Synthesized neutral lipids are stored as lipid bodies in the parasite cytosol in a stage specific manner. Their biogenesis is not modified upon incubation with excess fatty acids or lipoproteins or after lipoprotein depletion of the culture medium. We investigated on the enzymes involved in neutral lipid synthesis and found that only one gene with significant homology to known members of the membrane-bound O-acyltransferase family is present in the P. falciparum genome. It encodes a microsomal transmembrane protein with a predicted size of 78.1kDa, which we named PfDGAT because of its close identity with various known acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferases. PfDGAT is expressed in a stage specific manner as documented by Western blotting and immunoprecipitation assays using antibodies against Toxoplasma DGAT, suggesting that PfDGAT is the most likely candidate for plasmodial triacylglycerol synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-207
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Volume135
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Plasmodium falciparum
Parasites
Lipids
Acyltransferases
Triglycerides
Membranes
Eukaryotic Cells
Lipoproteins
Esters
Diacylglycerol O-Acyltransferase
Anticholesteremic Agents
Trophozoites
Acyl Coenzyme A
Esterification
Diglycerides
Toxoplasma
Oleic Acid
Immunoprecipitation
Cytosol
Culture Media

Keywords

  • ACAT
  • Acyl CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase
  • Acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase
  • CE
  • Chinese hamster ovary cells
  • CHO cells
  • Cholesteryl ester
  • DAG
  • DGAT
  • Diacylglycerol
  • Endoplasmic reticulum
  • ER
  • FACS
  • Fluorescent activated cell scanning
  • GFP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Parasitology

Cite this

Neutral lipid synthesis and storage in the intraerythrocytic stages of Plasmodium falciparum. / Vielemeyer, Ole; McIntosh, Michael T.; Joiner, Keith A; Coppens, Isabelle.

In: Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology, Vol. 135, No. 2, 06.2004, p. 195-207.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Vielemeyer, Ole ; McIntosh, Michael T. ; Joiner, Keith A ; Coppens, Isabelle. / Neutral lipid synthesis and storage in the intraerythrocytic stages of Plasmodium falciparum. In: Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology. 2004 ; Vol. 135, No. 2. pp. 195-207.
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