David T. Riglar 1 , 2 , Kelly L. Rogers 1 , 2 , Eric Hanssen 3 , Lynne Turnbull 4 , Hayley E. Bullen 2 , 5 , Sarah C. Charnaud 5 , 6 , Jude Przyborski 7 , Paul R. Gilson 5 , 8 , Cynthia B. Whitchurch 4 , Brendan S. Crabb 5 , 8 , 9 , Jake Baum a , 1 , 2 , 10 , Alan F. Cowman b , 1 , 2 , 10
29 January 2013
Export of proteins into the infected erythrocyte is critical for malaria parasite survival. The majority of effector proteins are thought to export via a proteinaceous translocon, resident in the parasitophorous vacuole membrane surrounding the parasite. Identification of the Plasmodium translocon of exported proteins and its biochemical association with exported proteins suggests it performs this role. Direct evidence for this, however, is lacking. Here using viable purified Plasmodium falciparum merozoites and three-dimensional structured illumination microscopy, we investigate remodelling events immediately following parasite invasion. We show that multiple complexes of the Plasmodium translocon of exported proteins localize together in foci that dynamically change in clustering behaviour. Furthermore, we provide conclusive evidence of spatial association between exported proteins and exported protein 2, a core component of the Plasmodium translocon of exported proteins, during native conditions and upon generation of translocation intermediates. These data provide the most direct cellular evidence to date that protein export occurs at regions of the parasitophorous vacuole membrane housing the Plasmodium translocon of exported proteins complex.
During red blood cell infection, malaria parasites export hundreds of proteins that remodel the host cell surface. Cowman and colleagues identify a putative protein translocator complex spatially associated with exported proteins, revealing the cellular domains involved in protein export.