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© Research
Publication : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Apicomplexa-specific tRip facilitates import of exogenous tRNAs into malaria parasites

Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique

Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America - 11 Apr 2016

Bour T, Mahmoudi N, Kapps D, Thiberge S, Bargieri D, Ménard R, Frugier M

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 27071116

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2016 Apr;113(17):4717-22

The malaria-causing Plasmodium parasites are transmitted to vertebrates by mosquitoes. To support their growth and replication, these intracellular parasites, which belong to the phylum Apicomplexa, have developed mechanisms to exploit their hosts. These mechanisms include expropriation of small metabolites from infected host cells, such as purine nucleotides and amino acids. Heretofore, no evidence suggested that transfer RNAs (tRNAs) could also be exploited. We identified an unusual gene in Apicomplexa with a coding sequence for membrane-docking and structure-specific tRNA binding. This Apicomplexa protein-designated tRip (tRNA import protein)-is anchored to the parasite plasma membrane and directs import of exogenous tRNAs. In the absence of tRip, the fitness of the parasite stage that multiplies in the blood is significantly reduced, indicating that the parasite may need host tRNAs to sustain its own translation and/or as regulatory RNAs. Plasmodium is thus the first example, to our knowledge, of a cell importing exogenous tRNAs, suggesting a remarkable adaptation of this parasite to extend its reach into host cell biology.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27071116