Plasmodium pseudo-Tyrosine Kinase-like binds PP1 and SERA5 and is exported to host erythrocytes

Sci Rep. 2019 May 31;9(1):8120. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-44542-3.


Pseudokinases play key roles in many biological processes but they are poorly understood compared to active kinases. Eight putative pseudokinases have been predicted in Plasmodium species. We selected the unique pseudokinase belonging to tyrosine kinase like (TKL) family for detailed structural and functional analysis in P. falciparum and P. berghei. The primary structure of PfpTKL lacks residues critical for kinase activity, supporting its annotation as a pseudokinase. The recombinant pTKL pseudokinase domain was able to bind ATP, but lacked catalytic activity as predicted. The sterile alpha motif (SAM) and RVxF motifs of PfpTKL were found to interact with the P. falciparum proteins serine repeat antigen 5 (SERA5) and protein phosphatase type 1 (PP1) respectively, suggesting that pTKL has a scaffolding role. Furthermore, we found that PP1c activity in a heterologous model was modulated in an RVxF-dependent manner. During the trophozoite stages, PbpTKL was exported to infected erythrocytes where it formed complexes with proteins involved in cytoskeletal organization or host cell maturation and homeostasis. Finally, genetic analysis demonstrated that viable strains obtained by genomic deletion or knocking down PbpTKL did not affect the course of parasite intra-erythrocytic development or gametocyte emergence, indicating functional redundancy during these parasite stages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't