L-FABP is a critical host factor for successful malaria liver stage development

Int J Parasitol. 2007 Apr;37(5):483-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2007.01.002. Epub 2007 Jan 14.


The malaria parasite liver stage produces tens of thousands of red cell-infectious forms within its host hepatocyte. It is thought that the vacuole-enclosed parasite completely depends on the host cell for successful development but the molecular parasite-host cell interactions underlying this remarkable growth have remained elusive. Using a yeast two-hybrid screen and a yeast overexpression system we show that UIS3, a parasite protein essential for liver stage development, interacts directly with liver-fatty acid binding protein, L-FABP. Down-regulation of L-FABP expression in hepatocytes severely impairs parasite growth and overexpression of L-FABP promotes growth. This is the first identified direct liver stage-host cell protein interaction, providing a possible explanation for the importance of UIS3 in liver infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Down-Regulation / physiology
  • Drug Interactions
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Hepatocytes / parasitology
  • Hepatocytes / physiology
  • Host-Parasite Interactions / physiology
  • Humans
  • Liver / parasitology*
  • Malaria / parasitology*
  • Malaria / physiopathology
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods
  • Plasmodium yoelii / growth & development*
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism
  • Vacuoles / parasitology


  • FABP1 protein, human
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Protozoan Proteins