A Novel and Conserved Plasmodium Sporozoite Membrane Protein SPELD is Required for Maturation of Exo-erythrocytic Forms

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Al-Nihmi, Faisal Mohammed Abdul
Kolli, Surendra Kumar
Reddy, Segireddy Rameswara
Mastan, Babu S.
Togiri, Jyothi
Maruthi, Mulaka
Gupta, Roshni
Sijwali, Puran Singh
Mishra, Satish
Kumar, Kota Arun
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Plasmodium sporozoites are the infective forms of malaria parasite to vertebrate host and undergo dramatic changes in their transcriptional repertoire during maturation in mosquito salivary glands. We report here the role of a novel and conserved Plasmodium berghei protein encoded by PBANKA-091090 in maturation of Exo-erythrocytic Forms (EEFs) and designate it as Sporozoite surface Protein Essential for Liver stage Development (PbSPELD). PBANKA-091090 was previously annotated as PB402615.00.0 and its transcript was recovered at maximal frequency in the Serial Analysis of the Gene Expression (SAGE) of Plasmodium berghei salivary gland sporozoites. An orthologue of this transcript was independently identified in Plasmodium vivax sporozoite microarrays and was designated as Sporozoite Conserved Orthologous Transcript-2 (scot-2). Functional characterization through reverse genetics revealed that PbSPELD is essential for Plasmodium liver stage maturation. mCherry transgenic of PbSPELD localized the protein to plasma membrane of sporozoites and early EEFs. Global microarray analysis of pbspeld ko revealed EEF attenuation being associated with down regulation of genes central to general transcription, cell cycle, proteosome and cadherin signaling. pbspeld mutant EEFs induced pre-erythrocytic immunity with 50% protective efficacy. Our studies have implications for attenuating the human Plasmodium liver stages by targeting SPELD locus.
Scientific Reports. v.7