Stage-Specific Changes in Plasmodium Metabolism Required for Differentiation and Adaptation to Different Host and Vector Environments

Anubhav Srivastava, Nisha Philip, Katie R Hughes, Konstantina Georgiou, James I MacRae, Michael P. Barrett, Darren J Creek, Malcolm J McConville, Andrew P. Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Malaria parasites (Plasmodium spp.) encounter markedly different (nutritional) environments during their complex life cycles in the mosquito and human hosts. Adaptation to these different host niches is associated with a dramatic rewiring of metabolism, from a highly glycolytic metabolism in the asexual blood stages to increased dependence on tricarboxylic acid (TCA) metabolism in mosquito stages. Here we have used stable isotope labelling, targeted metabolomics and reverse genetics to map stage-specific changes in Plasmodium berghei carbon metabolism and determine the functional significance of these changes on parasite survival in the blood and mosquito stages. We show that glutamine serves as the predominant input into TCA metabolism in both asexual and sexual blood stages and is important for complete male gametogenesis. Glutamine catabolism, as well as key reactions in intermediary metabolism and CoA synthesis are also essential for ookinete to oocyst transition in the mosquito. These data extend our knowledge of Plasmodium metabolism and point towards possible targets for transmission-blocking intervention strategies. Furthermore, they highlight significant metabolic differences between Plasmodium species which are not easily anticipated based on genomics or transcriptomics studies and underline the importance of integration of metabolomics data with other platforms in order to better inform drug discovery and design.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1006094
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Volume12
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Dec 2016

Keywords

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Culicidae
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Life Cycle Stages
  • Malaria
  • Mice
  • Plasmodium
  • Journal Article

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