Biosynthesis of glycosphingolipids de-novo by the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum

Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2001 Jan 15;112(1):29-37. doi: 10.1016/s0166-6851(00)00336-4.


Glycolipids are important components of cellular membranes involved in various biological functions. In this report we describe the identification of the de-novo synthesis of glycosphingolipids by intraerythrocytic, asexual stages of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Parasite-specific glycolipids were identified in organic solvent extracts of parasites metabolically labeled with tritiated serine and glucosamine and characterised as sphingolipids based on their insensitivity towards alkaline treatment. While the de-novo synthesis of parasite glycosphingolipids was affected by fumonisin B1, threo-PPMP, cyclo-serine and myriocin, these well established inhibitors of de-novo ceramide biosynthesis were unable to arrest the intraerythrocytic development of the parasites in culture.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology*
  • Glycosphingolipids / biosynthesis*
  • Humans
  • Malaria, Falciparum / parasitology*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / growth & development
  • Plasmodium falciparum / metabolism*
  • Sphingolipids / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Sphingolipids / biosynthesis


  • Glycosphingolipids
  • Sphingolipids