Co-inhibition of Plasmodium falciparum S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase/ornithine decarboxylase reveals perturbation-specific compensatory mechanisms by transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome analyses

J Biol Chem. 2009 Feb 13;284(7):4635-46. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M807085200. Epub 2008 Dec 10.


Polyamines are ubiquitous components of all living cells, and their depletion usually causes cytostasis, a strategy employed for treatment of West African trypanosomiasis. To evaluate polyamine depletion as an anti-malarial strategy, cytostasis caused by the co-inhibition of S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase/ornithine decarboxylase in Plasmodium falciparum was studied with a comprehensive transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome investigation. Highly synchronized cultures were sampled just before and during cytostasis, and a novel zero time point definition was used to enable interpretation of results in lieu of the developmentally regulated control of gene expression in P. falciparum. Transcriptome analysis revealed the occurrence of a generalized transcriptional arrest just prior to the growth arrest due to polyamine depletion. However, the abundance of 538 transcripts was differentially affected and included three perturbation-specific compensatory transcriptional responses as follows: the increased abundance of the transcripts for lysine decarboxylase and ornithine aminotransferase and the decreased abundance of that for S-adenosylmethionine synthetase. Moreover, the latter two compensatory mechanisms were confirmed on both protein and metabolite levels confirming their biological relevance. In contrast with previous reports, the results provide evidence that P. falciparum responds to alleviate the detrimental effects of polyamine depletion via regulation of its transcriptome and subsequently the proteome and metabolome.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenosylmethionine Decarboxylase / biosynthesis*
  • Animals
  • Biogenic Polyamines / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Repression / physiology
  • Humans
  • Ornithine Decarboxylase / biosynthesis*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / metabolism*
  • Proteome / metabolism*
  • Protozoan Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Transcription, Genetic / physiology


  • Biogenic Polyamines
  • Proteome
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • Ornithine Decarboxylase
  • Adenosylmethionine Decarboxylase