Translation regulation plays an important role during gametocytogenesis in the malaria parasite, a process that is obligatory for the transmission of the parasite through mosquito vectors. In this study we determined the function of PfPuf2, a member of the Puf family of translational repressors, in gametocytogenesis of Plasmodium falciparum. Tagging of the endogenous PfPuf2 protein with green fluorescent protein showed that PfPuf2 was expressed in both male and female gametocytes, and the protein was localized in the cytoplasm of the parasite. Targeted disruption of the PfPuf2 gene did not affect asexual growth of the parasite, but promoted the formation of gametocytes and differentiation of male gametocytes. Complementation studies were performed to confirm that the resultant phenotypic changes were due to disruption of the PfPuf2 gene. Episomal expression of PfPuf2 under its cognate promoter almost restored the gametocytogenesis rate in a PfPuf2 disruptant to the level of the wild-type parasite. It also partially restored the effect of PfPuf2 disruption on male-female sex ratio. In addition, episomal overexpression of PfPuf2 under its cognate promoter but with a higher concentration of the selection drug or under the constitutive hsp86 promoter in both the PfPuf2-disruptant and wild-type 3D7 lines, further dramatically reduced gametocytogenesis rates and sex ratios. These findings suggest that in this early branch of eukaryotes the function of PfPuf2 is consistent with the ancestral function of suppressing differentiation proposed for Puf-family proteins.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology