Global analysis of protein expression and phosphorylation of three stages of Plasmodium falciparum intraerythrocytic development

J Proteome Res. 2013 Sep 6;12(9):4028-45. doi: 10.1021/pr400394g. Epub 2013 Aug 26.


During asexual intraerythrocytic development, Plasmodium falciparum diverges from the paradigm of the eukaryotic cell cycles by undergoing multiple rounds of DNA replication and nuclear division without cytokinesis. A better understanding of the molecular switches that coordinate a myriad of events for the progression of the parasite through the intraerythrocytic developmental stages will be of fundamental importance for rational design of intervention strategies. To achieve this goal, we performed isobaric tag-based quantitative proteomics and phosphoproteomics analyses of three developmental stages in the Plasmodium asexual cycle and identified 2767 proteins, 1337 phosphoproteins, and 6293 phosphorylation sites. Approximately 34% of identified proteins and 75% of phosphorylation sites exhibit changes in abundance as the intraerythrocytic cycle progresses. Our study identified 43 distinct phosphorylation motifs and a range of potential MAPK/CDK substrates. Further analysis of phosphorylated kinases identified 30 protein kinases with 126 phosphorylation sites within the kinase domain or in N- or C-terminal tails. Many of these phosphorylations are likely CK2-mediated. We define the constitutive and regulated expression of the Plasmodium proteome during the intraerythrocytic developmental cycle, offering an insight into the dynamics of phosphorylation during asexual cycle progression. Our system-wide comprehensive analysis is a major step toward defining kinase-substrate pairs operative in various signaling networks in the parasite.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phosphoproteins / chemistry
  • Phosphoproteins / isolation & purification
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Plasmodium falciparum / growth & development
  • Plasmodium falciparum / metabolism*
  • Protein Kinases / chemistry
  • Protein Kinases / isolation & purification
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*
  • Proteome / chemistry
  • Proteome / isolation & purification
  • Proteome / metabolism*
  • Protozoan Proteins / chemistry
  • Protozoan Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Phosphoproteins
  • Proteome
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • Protein Kinases