A role for adaptor protein complex 1 in protein targeting to rhoptry organelles in Plasmodium falciparum

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015 Mar;1853(3):699-710. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2014.12.030. Epub 2015 Jan 5.


The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum possesses sophisticated systems of protein secretion to modulate host cell invasion and remodeling. In the present study, we provide insights into the function of the AP-1 complex in P. falciparum. We utilized GFP fusion constructs for live cell imaging, as well as fixed parasites in immunofluorescence analysis, to study adaptor protein mu1 (Pfμ1) mediated protein trafficking in P. falciparum. In trophozoites Pfμ1 showed similar dynamic localization to that of several Golgi/ER markers, indicating Golgi/ER localization. Treatment of transgenic parasites with Brefeldin A altered the localization of Golgi-associated Pfμ1, supporting the localization studies. Co-localization studies showed considerable overlap of Pfμ1 with the resident rhoptry proteins, rhoptry associated protein 1 (RAP1) and Cytoadherence linked asexual gene 3.1 (Clag3.1) in schizont stage. Immunoprecipitation experiments with Pfμ1 and PfRAP1 revealed an interaction, which may be mediated through an intermediate transmembrane cargo receptor. A specific role for Pfμ1 in trafficking was suggested by treatment with AlF4, which resulted in a shift to a predominantly ER-associated compartment and consequent decrease in co-localization with the Golgi marker GRASP. Together, these results suggest a role for the AP-1 complex in rhoptry protein trafficking in P. falciparum.

Keywords: Adaptor protein complex-1 (AP-1); Clathrin; ER–Golgi network; Plasmodium falciparum; Trafficking; Vesicular trafficking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Protein Complex 1 / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Organelles / metabolism*
  • Organisms, Genetically Modified
  • Plasmodium falciparum / genetics
  • Plasmodium falciparum / growth & development
  • Plasmodium falciparum / metabolism*
  • Protein Transport / genetics
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism


  • Adaptor Protein Complex 1
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • ROP 1 protein, Toxoplasma gondii
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins