Plasmodium berghei calcium dependent protein kinase 1 is not required for host cell invasion

PLoS One. 2013 Nov 12;8(11):e79171. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079171. eCollection 2013.


Plasmodium Calcium Dependent Protein Kinase (CDPK1) is required for the development of sexual stages in the mosquito. In addition, it is proposed to play an essential role in the parasite's invasive stages possibly through the regulation of the actinomyosin motor and micronemal secretion. We demonstrate that Plasmodium berghei CDPK1 is dispensable in the parasite's erythrocytic and pre-erythrocytic stages. We successfully disrupted P. berghei CDPK1 (PbCDPK1) by homologous recombination. The recovery of erythrocytic stage parasites lacking PbCDPK1 (PbCDPK1-) demonstrated that PbCDPK1 is not essential for erythrocytic invasion or intra-erythrocytic development. To study PbCDPK1's role in sporozoites and liver stage parasites, we generated a conditional mutant (CDPK1 cKO). Phenotypic characterization of CDPK1 cKO sporozoites demonstrated that CDPK1 is redundant or dispensable for the invasion of mammalian hepatocytes, the egress of parasites from infected hepatocytes and through the subsequent erythrocytic cycle. We conclude that P. berghei CDPK1 plays an essential role only in the mosquito sexual stages.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anopheles / parasitology
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Host-Parasite Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Life Cycle Stages
  • Plasmodium berghei / enzymology*
  • Plasmodium berghei / genetics
  • Plasmodium berghei / growth & development
  • Plasmodium berghei / physiology*
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*


  • Protein Kinases