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. 2014 Oct;10(10):2526-37.
doi: 10.1039/c4mb00115j.

Modeling Metabolism and Stage-Specific Growth of Plasmodium Falciparum HB3 During the Intraerythrocytic Developmental Cycle

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Modeling Metabolism and Stage-Specific Growth of Plasmodium Falciparum HB3 During the Intraerythrocytic Developmental Cycle

Xin Fang et al. Mol Biosyst. .

Abstract

The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum goes through a complex life cycle, including a roughly 48-hour-long intraerythrocytic developmental cycle (IDC) in human red blood cells. A better understanding of the metabolic processes required during the asexual blood-stage reproduction will enhance our basic knowledge of P. falciparum and help identify critical metabolic reactions and pathways associated with blood-stage malaria. We developed a metabolic network model that mechanistically links time-dependent gene expression, metabolism, and stage-specific growth, allowing us to predict the metabolic fluxes, the biomass production rates, and the timing of production of the different biomass components during the IDC. We predicted time- and stage-specific production of precursors and macromolecules for P. falciparum (strain HB3), allowing us to link specific metabolites to specific physiological functions. For example, we hypothesized that coenzyme A might be involved in late-IDC DNA replication and cell division. Moreover, the predicted ATP metabolism indicated that energy was mainly produced from glycolysis and utilized for non-metabolic processes. Finally, we used the model to classify the entire tricarboxylic acid cycle into segments, each with a distinct function, such as superoxide detoxification, glutamate/glutamine processing, and metabolism of fumarate as a byproduct of purine biosynthesis. By capturing the normal metabolic and growth progression in P. falciparum during the IDC, our model provides a starting point for further elucidation of strain-specific metabolic activity, host-parasite interactions, stress-induced metabolic responses, and metabolic responses to antimalarial drugs and drug candidates.

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