(2021) Nature Communications. 12, 1, 1172. Abstract[All authors]
Mature red blood cells (RBCs) lack internal organelles and canonical defense mechanisms, making them both a fascinating host cell, in general, and an intriguing choice for the deadly malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum (Pf), in particular. Pf, while growing inside its natural host, the human RBC, secretes multipurpose extracellular vesicles (EVs), yet their influence on this essential host cell remains unknown. Here we demonstrate that Pf parasites, cultured in fresh human donor blood, secrete within such EVs assembled and functional 20S proteasome complexes (EV-20S). The EV-20S proteasomes modulate the mechanical properties of naïve human RBCs by remodeling their cytoskeletal network. Furthermore, we identify four degradation targets of the secreted 20S proteasome, the phosphorylated cytoskeletal proteins β-adducin, ankyrin-1, dematin and Epb4.1. Overall, our findings reveal a previously unknown 20S proteasome secretion mechanism employed by the human malaria parasite, which primes RBCs for parasite invasion by altering membrane stiffness, to facilitate malaria parasite growth.
Immunomodulatory Properties of Leishmania Extracellular Vesicles During Host-Parasite Interaction: Differential Activation of TLRs and NF-kappa B Translocation by Dermotropic and Viscerotropic Species(2020) Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology. 10, 380. Abstract
Leishmania infection causes considerable human morbidity and may develop into a deadly visceral form in endemic regions. The parasite infects macrophages where they can replicate intracellularly. Furthermore, they modulate host immune responses by using virulence factors (lipophosphoglycan, glycoprotein-63, and others) that promote survival inside the cells. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by parasites are important for cell-cell communication in the proinflammatory milieu modulating the establishment of infection. However, information on the ability of EVs from different Leishmania species to modulate inflammatory responses is scarce, especially from those species causing different clinical manifestations (visceral vs. cutaneous). The purpose of this study was to compare macrophage activation using EVs from three Leishmania species from New World including L. infantum, L. braziliensis, and L. amazonensis. EVs were released from promastigote forms, purified by ultracentrifugation and quantitated by Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) prior to murine macrophage exposure. NTA analysis did not show any differences in the EV sizes among the strains. EVs from L. braziliensis and L. infantum failed to induce a pro-inflammatory response. EVs from both L. infantum WT and LPG-deficient mutant (LPG-KO) did not show any differences in their interaction with macrophages, suggesting that LPG solely was not determinant for activation. On the other hand, EVs from L. amazonensis were immunomodulatory inducing NO, TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-10 via TLR4 and TLR2. To determine whether such activation was related to NF-kappa B p65 translocation, THP-1 macrophage cells were exposed to EVs. In the same way, only EVs from L. amazonensis exhibited a highly percentage of cells positive for NF-kappa B. Our results suggest an important role of EVs in determining the pattern of immune response depending on the parasite species. For L. infantum, LPG was not determinant for the activation.
(2020) Biomedicines. 8, 5, 98. Abstract
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are cell-derived membrane-bound structures that are believed to play a major role in intercellular communication by allowing cells to exchange proteins and genetic cargo between them. In particular, pathogens, such as the malaria parasite Plasmodium (P.) falciparum, utilize EVs to promote their growth and to alter their host's response. Thus, better characterization of these secreted organelles will enhance our understanding of the cellular processes that govern EVs' biology and pathological functions. Here we present a method that utilizes a high-end flow cytometer system to characterize small EVs, i.e., with a diameter less than 200 nm. Using this method, we could evaluate different parasite-derived EV populations according to their distinct cargo by using antibody-free labeling. It further allows to closely monitor a sub-population of vesicles carrying parasitic DNA cargo. This ability paves the way to conducting a more 'educated' analysis of the various EV cargo components.
Trypanosoma cruzi-Infected Human Macrophages Shed Proinflammatory Extracellular Vesicles That Enhance Host-Cell Invasion via Toll-Like Receptor 2(2020) Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology. 10, 99. Abstract[All authors]
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) shed by trypomastigote forms of Trypanosoma cruzi have the ability to interact with host tissues, increase invasion, and modulate the host innate response. In this study, EVs shed from T. cruzi or T.cruzi-infected macrophages were investigated as immunomodulatory agents during the initial steps of infection. Initially, by scanning electron microscopy and nanoparticle tracking analysis, we determined that T. cruzi-infected macrophages release higher numbers of EVs (50-300 nm) as compared to non-infected cells. Using Toll-like-receptor 2 (TLR2)-transfected CHO cells, we observed that pre-incubation of these host cells with parasite-derived EVs led to an increase in the percentage of infected cells. In addition, EVs from parasite or T.cruzi-infected macrophages or not were able to elicit translocation of NF-kappa B by interacting with TLR2, and as a consequence, to alter the EVs the gene expression of proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-1 beta), and STAT-1 and STAT-3 signaling pathways. By proteomic analysis, we observed highly significant changes in the protein composition between non-infected and infected host cell-derived EVs. Thus, we observed the potential of EVs derived from T. cruzi during infection to maintain the inflammatory response in the host.
(2020) Proteins-Structure Function And Bioinformatics. 88, 1, p. 187-195 Abstract
Many human pathogens use host cell-surface receptors to attach and invade cells. Often, the host-pathogen interaction affinity is low, presenting opportunities to block invasion using a soluble, high-affinity mimic of the host protein. The Plasmodium falciparum reticulocyte-binding protein homolog 5 (RH5) provides an exciting candidate for mimicry: it is highly conserved and its moderate affinity binding to the human receptor basigin (K
D ≥1 μM) is an essential step in erythrocyte invasion by this malaria parasite. We used deep mutational scanning of a soluble fragment of human basigin to systematically characterize point mutations that enhance basigin affinity for RH5 and then used Rosetta to design a variant within the sequence space of affinity-enhancing mutations. The resulting seven-mutation design exhibited 1900-fold higher affinity (K
D approximately 1 nM) for RH5 with a very slow binding off rate (0.23 h
−1) and reduced the effective Plasmodium growth-inhibitory concentration by at least 10-fold compared to human basigin. The design provides a favorable starting point for engineering on-rate improvements that are likely to be essential to reach therapeutically effective growth inhibition.
(2020) EMBO Reports. 21, 1, 47882. Abstract[All authors]
During the chronic stage of Schistosoma infection, the female lays fertile eggs, triggering a strong anti-parasitic type 2 helper T-cell (Th2) immune response. It is unclear how this Th2 response gradually declines even though the worms live for years and continue to produce eggs. Here, we show that Schistosoma mansoni downregulates Th2 differentiation in an antigen-presenting cell-independent manner, by modulating the Th2-specific transcriptional program. Adult schistosomes secrete miRNA-harboring extracellular vesicles that are internalized by Th cells in vitro. Schistosomal miRNAs are found also in T helper cells isolated from Peyer's patches and mesenteric lymph nodes of infected mice. In T helper cells, the schistosomal miR-10 targets MAP3K7 and consequently downmodulates NF-kappa B activity, a critical transcription factor for Th2 differentiation and function. Our results explain, at least partially, how schistosomes tune down the Th2 response, and provide further insight into the reciprocal geographic distribution between high prevalence of parasitic infections and immune disorders such as allergy. Furthermore, this worm-host crosstalk mechanism can be harnessed to develop diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for human schistosomiasis and Th2-associated diseases.
Histamine releasing factor and elongation factor 1 alpha secreted via malaria parasites extracellular vesicles promote immune evasion by inhibiting specific T cell responses(2019) Cellular Microbiology. 21, 7, 13021. Abstract
Protozoan pathogens secrete nanosized particles called extracellular vesicles (EVs) to facilitate their survival and chronic infection. Here, we show the inhibition by Plasmodium berghei NK65 blood stage-derived EVs of the proliferative response of CD4(+) T cells in response to antigen presentation. Importantly, these results were confirmed in vivo by the capacity of EVs to diminish the ovalbumin-specific delayed type hypersensitivity response. We identified two proteins associated with EVs, the histamine releasing factor (HRF) and the elongation factor 1 alpha (EF-1 alpha) that were found to have immunosuppressive activities. Interestingly, in contrast to WT parasites, EVs from genetically HRF- and EF-1 alpha-deficient parasites failed to inhibit T cell responses in vitro and in vivo. At the level of T cells, we demonstrated that EVs from WT parasites dephosphorylate key molecules (PLC gamma 1, Akt, and ERK) of the T cell receptor signalling cascade. Remarkably, immunisation with EF-1 alpha alone or in combination with HRF conferred a long-lasting antiparasite protection and immune memory. In conclusion, we identified a new mechanism by which P. berghei-derived EVs exert their immunosuppressive functions by altering T cell responses. The identification of two highly conserved immune suppressive factors offers new conceptual strategies to overcome EV-mediated immune suppression in malaria-infected individuals.
(2019) EMBO Reports. 20, 3, 47719. Abstract
Tuberculosis remains one of the deadliest infectious diseases worldwide. Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) has developed various mechanisms to manipulate the human host, in particular by disrupting the host phagosome and the immune response. It is becoming evident that secreted extracellular vesicles (EVs) are involved in the dynamic crosstalk between M.tb and the host cells. These vesicles shuttle different cargo components, such as RNA, lipids, and proteins, between cells. In this issue of EMBO Reports, Cheng and Schorey describe a previously unknown EV-mediated process, regulating M.tb RNA loading into EVs and their internalization by naive macrophages. They identify the mycobacterial Sec2 secretion system as involved in RNA loading into EVs and show that secreted vesicles contain bacterial RNA that not only promotes IFN-beta production upon entry into target cells, but also leads to M.tb clearance via the activation of the host's RIG-I/MAVS signaling pathway. Importantly, combined treatment with secreted EVs and antibiotics decreases bacterial load in a mouse model, improving lung pathology compared to treatment with antibiotics alone.
Highlights of the mini-symposium on extracellular vesicles in inter-organismal communication, held in Munich, Germany, August 2018(2019) Journal of Extracellular Vesicles. 8, 1, 1590116. Abstract
All living organisms secrete molecules for intercellular communication. Recent research has revealed that extracellular vesicles (EVs) play an important role in inter-organismal cell-to-cell communication by transporting diverse messenger molecules, including RNA, DNA, lipids and proteins. These discoveries have raised fundamental questions regarding EV biology. How are EVs biosynthesized and loaded with messenger/cargo molecules? How are EVs secreted into the extracellular matrix? What are the EV uptake mechanisms of recipient cells? As EVs are produced by all kind of organisms, from unicellular bacteria and protists, filamentous fungi and oomycetes, to complex multicellular life forms such as plants and animals, basic research in diverse model systems is urgently needed to shed light on the multifaceted biology of EVs and their role in inter-organismal communications. To help catalyse progress in this emerging field, a mini-symposium was held in Munich, Germany in August 2018. This report highlights recent progress and major questions being pursued across a very diverse group of model systems, all united by the question of how EVs contribute to inter-organismal communication.
Minimal information for studies of extracellular vesicles 2018 (MISEV2018): a position statement of the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles and update of the MISEV2014 guidelines(2019) Journal of Extracellular Vesicles. 7, 1, 1535750. Abstract[All authors]
The last decade has seen a sharp increase in the number of scientific publications describing physiological and pathological functions of extracellular vesicles (EVs), a collective term covering various subtypes of cell-released, membranous structures, called exosomes, microvesicles, microparticles, ectosomes, oncosomes, apoptotic bodies, and many other names. However, specific issues arise when working with these entities, whose size and amount often make them difficult to obtain as relatively pure preparations, and to characterize properly. The International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) proposed Minimal Information for Studies of Extracellular Vesicles ("MISEV") guidelines for the field in 2014. We now update these "MISEV2014" guidelines based on evolution of the collective knowledge in the last four years. An important point to consider is that ascribing a specific function to EVs in general, or to subtypes of EVs, requires reporting of specific information beyond mere description of function in a crude, potentially contaminated, and heterogeneous preparation. For example, claims that exosomes are endowed with exquisite and specific activities remain difficult to support experimentally, given our still limited knowledge of their specific molecular machineries of biogenesis and release, as compared with other biophysically similar EVs. The MISEV2018 guidelines include tables and outlines of suggested protocols and steps to follow to document specific EV-associated functional activities. Finally, a checklist is provided with summaries of key points.
(2019) Proteomics. 19, 1-2, 1800170. Abstract
Genetic plasticity of prokaryotic microbial communities is largely dependent on the ongoing exchange of genetic determinants by Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT). HGT events allow beneficial genetic transitions to occur throughout microbial life, thus promoting adaptation to changing environmental conditions. Here, the significance of secreted vesicles in mediating HGT between microorganisms is discussed, while focusing on the benefits gained by vesicle-mediated gene delivery and its occurrence under different environmental cues. The potential use of secreted DNA-harboring vesicles as a mechanism of currently unresolved HGT events in eukaryotic microbes is further discussed.
(2018) Small. 14, 39, 1801650. Abstract[All authors]
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are emerging as important mediators of cell-cell communication as well as potential disease biomarkers and drug delivery vehicles. However, the mechanical properties of these vesicles are largely unknown, and processes leading to microvesicle-shedding from the plasma membrane are not well understood. Here an in depth atomic force microscopy force spectroscopy study of the mechanical properties of natural EVs is presented. It is found that several natural vesicles of different origin have a different composition of lipids and proteins, but similar mechanical properties. However, vesicles generated by red blood cells (RBC) at different temperatures/incubation times are different mechanically. Quantifying the lipid content of EVs reveals that their stiffness decreases with the increase in their protein/lipid ratio. Further, by maintaining RBC at "extreme" nonphysiological conditions, the cells are pushed to utilize different vesicle generation pathways. It is found that RBCs can generate protein-rich soft vesicles, possibly driven by protein aggregation, and low membrane-protein content stiff vesicles, likely driven by cytoskeleton-induced buckling. Since similar cortical cytoskeleton to that of the RBC exists on the membranes of most mammalian cells, our findings help advancing the understanding of the fundamental process of vesicle generation.
(2018) Molecular Biology of the Cell. 29, 16, p. 2005-2011 Abstract[All authors]
A large number of studies demonstrate that cell mechanics and pathology are intimately linked. In particular, deformability of red blood cells (RBCs) is key to their function and is dramatically altered in the time course of diseases such as anemia and malaria. Due to the physiological importance of cell mechanics, many methods for cell mechanical probing have been developed. While single-cell methods provide very valuable information, they are often technically challenging and lack the high data throughput needed to distinguish differences in heterogeneous populations, while fluid-flow high-throughput methods miss the accuracy to detect subtle differences. Here we present a new method for multiplexed single-cell mechanical probing using acoustic force spectroscopy (AFS). We demonstrate that mechanical differences induced by chemical treatments of known effect can be measured and quantified. Furthermore, we explore the effect of extracellular vesicles (EVs) uptake on RBC mechanics and demonstrate that EVs uptake increases RBC deformability. Our findings demonstrate the ability of AFS to manipulate cells with high stability and precision and pave the way to further new insights into cellular mechanics and mechanobiology in health and disease, as well as potential biomedical applications.
Extracellular vesicles from early stage Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells contain PfEMP1 and induce transcriptional changes in human monocytes(2018) Cellular Microbiology. 20, 5, 12822. Abstract
Pathogens can release extracellular vesicles (EVs) for cell-cell communication and host modulation. EVs from Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest malaria parasite species, can transfer drug resistance genes between parasites. EVs from late-stage parasite-infected RBC (iRBC-EVs) are immunostimulatory and affect endothelial cell permeability, but little is known about EVs from early stage iRBC. We detected the parasite virulence factor PfEMP1, which is responsible for iRBC adherence and a major contributor to disease severity, in EVs, only up to 12-hr post-RBC invasion. Furthermore, using PfEMP1 transport knockout parasites, we determined that EVs originated from inside the iRBC rather than the iRBC surface. Proteomic analysis detected 101 parasite and 178 human proteins in iRBC-EVs. Primary human monocytes stimulated with iRBC-EVs released low levels of inflammatory cytokines and showed transcriptomic changes. Stimulation with iRBC-EVs from PfEMP1 knockout parasites induced more gene expression changes and affected pathways involved in defence response, stress response, and response to cytokines, suggesting a novel function of PfEMP1 when present in EVs. We show for the first time the presence of PfEMP1 in early stage P.falciparum iRBC-EVs and the effects of these EVs on primary human monocytes, uncovering a new mechanism of potential parasite pathogenesis and host interaction.
(2018) Frontiers in Immunology. 9, 1011. Abstract
Extracellular vesicles are essential for long distance cell-cell communication. They function as carriers of different compounds, including proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. Pathogens, like malaria parasites (Plasmodium falciparum, Pf), excel in employing vesicle release to mediate cell communication in diverse processes, particularly in manipulating the host response. Establishing research tools to study the interface between pathogen-derived vesicles and their host recipient cells will greatly benefit the scientific community. Here, we present an imaging flow cytometry (IFC) method for monitoring the uptake of malaria-derived vesicles by host immune cells. By staining different cargo components, we were able to directly track the cargo's internalization over time and measure the kinetics of its delivery. Impressively, we demonstrate that this method can be used to specifically monitor the translocation of a specific protein within the cellular milieu upon internalization of parasitic cargo; namely, we were able to visually observe how uptaken parasitic Pf-DNA cargo leads to translocation of transcription factor IRF3 from the cytosol to the nucleus within the recipient immune cell. Our findings demonstrate that our method can be used to study cellular dynamics upon vesicle uptake in different host-pathogen and pathogen-pathogen systems.
(2017) Nat Commun. 8, 1985. Abstract[All authors]
STING is an innate immune cytosolic adaptor for DNA sensors that engage malaria parasite (Plasmodium falciparum) or other pathogen DNA. As P. falciparum infects red blood cells and not leukocytes, how parasite DNA reaches such host cytosolic DNA sensors in immune cells is unclear. Here we show that malaria parasites inside red blood cells can engage host cytosolic innate immune cell receptors from a distance by secreting extracellular vesicles (EV) containing parasitic small RNA and genomic DNA. Upon internalization of DNA harboring EVs by human monocytes, P. falciparum DNA is released within the host cell cytosol, leading to STING-dependent DNA sensing. STING subsequently activates the kinase TBK1, which phosphorylates the transcription factor IRF3, causing IRF3 to translocate to the nucleus and induce STING-dependent gene expression. This DNA-sensing pathway may be an important decoy mechanism to promote P. falciparum virulence and thereby may affect future strategies to treat malaria.
(2017) PLoS Pathogens. 13, 8, e1006524. Abstract
Metabolic changes within the cell and its niche affect cell fate and are involved in many diseases and disorders including cancer and viral infections. Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the etiological agent of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). KSHV latently infected cells express only a subset of viral genes, mainly located within the latency-associated region, among them 12 microRNAs. Notably, these miRNAs are responsible for inducing the Warburg effect in infected cells. Here we identify a novel mechanism enabling KSHV to manipulate the metabolic nature of the tumour microenvironment. We demonstrate that KSHV infected cells specifically transfer the virus-encoded microRNAs to surrounding cells via exosomes. This flow of genetic information results in a metabolic shift toward aerobic glycolysis in the surrounding non-infected cells. Importantly, this exosome-mediated metabolic reprogramming of neighbouring cells supports the growth of infected cells, thereby contributing to viral fitness. Finally, our data show that this miRNA transfer-based regulation of cell metabolism is a general mechanism used by other herpesviruses, such as EBV, as well as for the transfer of non-viral onco-miRs. This exosome-based crosstalk provides viruses with a mechanism for non-infectious transfer of genetic material without production of new viral particles, which might expose them to the immune system. We suggest that viruses and cancer cells use this mechanism to shape a specific metabolic niche that will contribute to their fitness.
(2017) Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology. 67, p. 83-90 Abstract
Infectious diseases are the leading cause of death of children worldwide, causing a tenacious and major public-health burden. The dynamic interplay between pathogens and their host is one of the most complicated themes of the disease progression. Pathogens excel in developing different means to facilitate cell-cell communication via secreted vesicles, among others. The released vesicles are involved in the transfer of biologically active molecules that induce phenotypic changes in the recipient cells. The messages within the vesicles are delivered to coordinate diverse processes, including virulence factor expression, differentiation state and control of their population density. Importantly, production of such vesicles promotes pathogen survival, as it provides a secure means of pathogen-pathogen communication and an ability to manipulate host responses for their own benefits. This review highlights intriguing findings, which show the important role of EVs in the social activity of pathogens, within and in between their communities. We further present examples of how pathogens use EVs to alter host immune and non-immune responses. Advancing our understanding of cell-cell communication in infectious diseases will be particularly useful to decipher the complexity of the crosstalk between pathogens themselves and their hosts, leading to the development of therapeutic strategies for fighting infectious agents. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Phosphatidylserine externalization, "necroptotic bodies" release, and phagocytosis during necroptosis(2017) PLoS Biology. 15, 6, e2002711. Abstract
Necroptosis is a regulated, nonapoptotic form of cell death initiated by receptor-interacting protein kinase-3 (RIPK3) and mixed lineage kinase domain-like (MLKL) proteins. It is considered to be a form of regulated necrosis, and, by lacking the "find me" and "eat me" signals that are a feature of apoptosis, necroptosis is considered to be inflammatory. One such "eat me" signal observed during apoptosis is the exposure of phosphatidylserine (PS) on the outer plasma membrane. Here, we demonstrate that necroptotic cells also expose PS after phosphorylated mixed lineage kinase-like (pMLKL) translocation to the membrane. Necroptotic cells that expose PS release extracellular vesicles containing proteins and pMLKL to their surroundings. Furthermore, inhibition of pMLKL after PS exposure can reverse the process of necroptosis and restore cell viability. Finally, externalization of PS by necroptotic cells drives recognition and phagocytosis, and this may limit the inflammatory response to this nonapoptotic form of cell death. The exposure of PS to the outer membrane and to extracellular vesicles is therefore a feature of necroptotic cell death and may serve to provide an immunologically-silent window by generating specific "find me" and "eat me" signals.
Schistosomal MicroRNAs Isolated From Extracellular Vesicles in Sera of Infected Patients: A New Tool for Diagnosis and Follow-up of Human Schistosomiasis(2017) The Journal of infectious diseases. 215, 3, p. 378-386 Abstract
Schistosomiasis traditionally has been diagnosed by detecting eggs in stool or urine. However, the sensitivity of these examinations is limited, especially in travelers with a low worm burden. Serologic tests have a greater sensitivity, but their results remain positive regardless of treatment and thus cannot be used for follow-up of patients. We hypothesized that detection of worm microRNAs (miRNAs) in serum can overcome the drawbacks of the existing diagnostic methods.
Identification and classification of the malaria parasite blood developmental stages, using imaging flow cytometry(2017) Methods. 112, p. 157-166 Abstract
Malaria is the most devastating parasitic disease of humans, caused by the unicellular protozoa of the Plasmodium genus, such as Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) and is responsible for up to a million deaths each year. Pf life cycle is complex, with transmission of the parasite between humans via mosquitos involving a remarkable series of morphological transformations. In the bloodstream, the parasites undergo asexual multiplications inside the red blood cell (RBC), where they mature through the ring (R), trophozoite (T) and schizont (S) stages, and sexual development, resulting in gametocytes (G). All symptoms of malaria pathology are caused by the asexual blood stage parasites. Flow cytometry methods were previously used to detect malaria infected (i) RBCs, in live or fixed cells, using DNA (Hoechst) and RNA (Thiazole Orange) stains. Here, by using imaging flow cytometry, we developed improved methods of identifying and quantifying each of the four parasite blood stages (R, T, S and G). This technique allows multi-channel, high resolution imaging of individual parasites, as well as detailed morphological quantification of Pf-iRBCs cultures. Moreover, by measuring iRBC morphological properties, we can eliminate corrupted and extra cellular (dying) parasites from the analysis, providing accurate quantification and robust measurement of the parasitemia profile. This new method is a valuable tool in malaria molecular biology research and drug screen assays. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
(2017) Trends in Parasitology. 33, 1, p. 2-4 Abstract
During its life cycle, the malaria parasite must cope with a set of diverse environments and institute strategies to alter its host's responses. A recent study remarkably demonstrates how these parasites exploit red blood cell products, loading them into 'armed' secreted vesicles sent to manipulate their host's 'endothelium battlefront', thereby promoting malaria infection.
(2014) Sub-Cellular Biochemistry. 78, p. 201-17 25487023. Abstract
Mitochondrial chaperones mediate and affect critical organellar processes, essential for cellular function. These chaperone systems have both prokaryotic and eukaryotic features. While some of the mitochondrial co-chaperones have clear homologues in prokaryotes, some are unique to eukaryotes and have no homologues in the chaperone machinery of other cellular compartments. The mitochondrial co-chaperones are required for protein import into the organelle and in enforcing the structure of the main chaperones. In addition to novel types of interaction with their senior partners, unexpected and essential interactions between the co-chaperones themselves have recently been described.
(2013) Cell. 153, 5, p. 1120-1133 Abstract[All authors]
Cell-cell communication is an important mechanism for information exchange promoting cell survival for the control of features such as population density and differentiation. We determined that Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells directly communicate between parasites within a population using exosome-like vesicles that are capable of delivering genes. Importantly, communication via exosome-like vesicles promotes differentiation to sexual forms at a rate that suggests that signaling is involved. Furthermore, we have identified a P. falciparum protein, PfPTP2, that plays a key role in efficient communication. This study reveals a previously unidentified pathway of P. falciparum biology critical for survival in the host and transmission to mosquitoes. This identifies a pathway for the development of agents to block parasite transmission from the human host to the mosquito.