Systematic analysis of Plasmodium myosins reveals differential expression, localisation, and function in invasive and proliferative parasite stages

Cell Microbiol. 2019 Oct;21(10):e13082. doi: 10.1111/cmi.13082. Epub 2019 Jul 23.


The myosin superfamily comprises of actin-dependent eukaryotic molecular motors important in a variety of cellular functions. Although well studied in many systems, knowledge of their functions in Plasmodium, the causative agent of malaria, is restricted. Previously, six myosins were identified in this genus, including three Class XIV myosins found only in Apicomplexa and some Ciliates. The well characterized MyoA is a Class XIV myosin essential for gliding motility and invasion. Here, we characterize all other Plasmodium myosins throughout the parasite life cycle and show that they have very diverse patterns of expression and cellular location. MyoB and MyoE, the other two Class XIV myosins, are expressed in all invasive stages, with apical and basal locations, respectively. Gene deletion revealed that MyoE is involved in sporozoite traversal, MyoF and MyoK are likely essential in the asexual blood stages, and MyoJ and MyoB are not essential. Both MyoB and its essential light chain (MCL-B) are localised at the apical end of ookinetes but expressed at completely different time points. This work provides a better understanding of the role of actomyosin motors in Apicomplexan parasites, particularly in the motile and invasive stages of Plasmodium during sexual and asexual development within the mosquito.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Life Cycle Stages
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Mice
  • Myosins / chemistry
  • Myosins / genetics
  • Myosins / metabolism*
  • Phenotype
  • Plasmodium / genetics
  • Plasmodium / growth & development*
  • Plasmodium / metabolism*
  • Protein Domains / genetics
  • Protozoan Proteins / chemistry
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism*
  • Sporozoites / growth & development
  • Sporozoites / metabolism*


  • Protozoan Proteins
  • Myosins