Proteomic analysis of extracellular vesicles from a Plasmodium falciparum Kenyan clinical isolate defines a core parasite secretome
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Background : Many pathogens secrete effector molecules to subvert host immune responses, to acquire nutrients, and/or to prepare host cells for invasion. One of the ways that effector molecules are secreted is through extracellular vesicles (EVs) such as exosomes. Recently, the malaria parasite P. falciparum has been shown to produce EVs that can mediate transfer of genetic material between parasites and induce sexual commitment. Characterizing the content of these vesicles may improve our understanding of P. falciparum pathogenesis and virulence. Methods : Previous studies of P. falciparum EVs have been limited to long-term adapted laboratory isolates. In this study, we isolated EVs from a Kenyan P. falciparum clinical isolate that had been adapted to in vitro culture for a relatively shorter period, and characterized their protein content by mass spectrometry (data are available via ProteomeXchange, with identifier PXD006925). Results : We show that P. falciparum extracellular vesicles ( Pf EVs) are enriched in proteins found within the exomembrane compartments of infected erythrocytes such as Maurer’s clefts (MCs), as well as the secretory endomembrane compartments in the apical end of the merozoites, suggesting that Pf EVs may play a role in parasite-host interactions. Comparison of this dataset with previously published datasets helps to define a core secretome present in Pf EVs. Conclusions : P. falciparum extracellular vesicles contain virulence-associated parasite proteins. Analysis of Pf EVs contents from a range of clinical isolates, and their functional validation may improve our understanding of the virulence mechanisms of the parasite, and potentially identify new targets for interventions or diagnostics.
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