Transmission of the malaria parasite occurs in an unpredictable moment, when a mosquito takes a blood meal. Plasmodium has therefore evolved strategies to prepare for transmission, including translationally repressing and protecting mRNAs needed to establish the infection. However, mechanisms underlying these critical controls are not well understood, including whether Plasmodium changes its translationally repressive complexes and mRNA targets in different stages. Efforts to understand this have been stymied by severe technical limitations due to substantial mosquito contamination of samples. Here using P. yoelii, for the first time we provide a proteomic comparison of a protein complex across asexual blood, sexual and sporozoite stages, along with a transcriptomic comparison of the mRNAs that are affected in these stages. We find that the Apicomplexan-specific ALBA4 RNA-binding protein acts to regulate development of the parasite's transmission stages, and that ALBA4 associates with both stage-specific and stage-independent partners to produce opposing mRNA fates. These efforts expand our understanding and ability to interrogate both sexual and sporozoite transmission stages and the molecular preparations they evolved to perpetuate their infectious cycle.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology