Characterization of mitochondrial carrier proteins of malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum based on in vitro translation and reconstitution

Parasitol Int. 2020 Dec;79:102160. doi: 10.1016/j.parint.2020.102160. Epub 2020 Jun 20.


Members of the mitochondrial carrier (MC) family of membrane transporters play important roles in cellular metabolism. We previously established an in vitro reconstitution system for membrane transporters based on wheat germ cell-free translation system. We have now applied this reconstitution system to the comparative analysis of MC proteins from the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We synthesized twelve putative P. falciparum MCs and determined the transport activities of four of these proteins including PF3D7_1037300 protein (ADP/ATP translocator), PF3D7_1004800 protein (ADP/ATP translocator), PF3D7_1202200 protein (phosphate carrier), and PF3D7_1241600 protein (S-adenosylmethionine transporter). In addition, we tested the effect of cardiolipin on the activity of MC proteins. The transport activities of the yeast MCs, ScAac2p, ScGgc1p, ScDic1p, ScPic1p, and ScSam5p, which localize to the mitochondrial inner membrane, were increased by cardiolipin supplementation, whereas that of ScAnt1p, which localizes to the peroxisome membrane, was not significantly affected. Together, this indicates that the functional properties of the reconstituted MCs reflect the lipid content of their native membranes. Except for PF3D7_1241600 protein, these P. falciparum proteins manifested cardiolipin-dependent transport activities. Immunofluorescence analysis showed that PF3D7_1241600 protein is not mainly localized to the mitochondria of P. falciparum cells. We thus revealed the functions of four MC proteins of the malaria parasite and the effects of cardiolipin on their activities.

Keywords: Cardiolipin; Cell-free translation system; Membrane transporter; Mitochondrial carrier; Plasmodium falciparum; Reconstitution; Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

MeSH terms

  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism
  • Plasmodium falciparum / genetics*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / metabolism
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics*
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Protozoan Proteins