High mobility group protein HMGB2 is a critical regulator of plasmodium oocyst development

J Biol Chem. 2008 Jun 20;283(25):17030-8. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M801637200. Epub 2008 Apr 8.


The sexual cycle of Plasmodium is required for transmission of malaria from mosquitoes to mammals, but how parasites induce the expression of genes required for the sexual stages is not known. We disrupted the Plasmodium yoelii gene encoding high mobility group nuclear factor hmgb2, which encodes a DNA-binding protein potentially implicated in transcriptional regulation of malaria gene expression. We investigated its function in vivo in the vertebrate and invertebrate hosts. Deltapyhmgb2 parasites develop into gametocytes but have drastic impairment of oocyst formation. A global transcriptome analysis of the Deltapyhmgb2 parasites identified approximately 30 genes whose expression is down-regulated in the Deltapyhmgb2 parasites. These genes are conserved in all malaria species, and more than 90% of these genes show a peak of mRNA expression at the gametocyte stage. Surprisingly, the transcripts coding for the Plasmodium berghei orthologues of those genes are stored and translated in the ookinete stage. Therefore, sexual stage protein expression appears to be both transcriptionally and translationally regulated with Plasmodium HMGB2 acting as an important regulator of malaria sexual stage gene expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anopheles / parasitology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genotype
  • HMGB2 Protein / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Genetic
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Oocysts / metabolism*
  • Oocysts / parasitology*
  • Plasmodium / metabolism*
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • HMGB2 Protein
  • RNA, Messenger