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PLOS Pathogens






The Plasmodium ookinete develops over several hours in the bloodmeal of its mosquito vector where it is exposed to exogenous stresses, including cytotoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS). How the parasite adapts to these challenging conditions is not well understood. We have systematically investigated the expression of three cytosolic antioxidant proteins, thioredoxin-1 (Trx-1), peroxiredoxin-1 (TPx-1), and 1-Cys peroxiredoxin (1-Cys Prx), in developing ookinetes of the rodent parasite Plasmodium berghei under various growth conditions. Transcriptional profiling showed that tpx-1 and 1-cys prx but not trx-1 are more strongly upregulated in ookinetes developing in the mosquito bloodmeal when compared to ookinetes growing under culture conditions. Confocal immunofluorescence imaging revealed comparable expression patterns on the corresponding proteins. 1-Cys Prx in particular exhibited strong expression in mosquito-derived ookinetes but was not detectable in cultured ookinetes. Furthermore, ookinetes growing in culture upregulated tpx-1 and 1-cys prx when challenged with exogenous ROS in a dose-dependent fashion. This suggests that environmental factors in the mosquito bloodmeal induce upregulation of cytosolic antioxidant proteins in Plasmodium ookinetes. We found that in a parasite line lacking TPx-1 (TPx-1KO), expression of 1-Cys Prx occurred significantly earlier in mosquito-derived TPx-1KO ookinetes when compared to wild type (WT) ookinetes. The protein was also readily detectable in cultured TPx-1KO ookinetes, indicating that 1-Cys Prx at least in part compensates for the loss of TPx-1 in vivo. We hypothesize that this dynamic expression of the cytosolic peroxiredoxins reflects the capacity of the developing Plasmodium ookinete to rapidly adapt to the changing conditions in the mosquito bloodmeal. This would significantly increase its chances of survival, maturation and subsequent escape. Our results also emphasize that environmental conditions must be taken into account when investigating Plasmodium-mosquito interactions.


Author Posting. © Turturice et al., 2013. This article is posted here by permission of the authors for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in PLOS Pathogens, Volume 9, Issue 1, January 2013,

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