Identification and preliminary characterization of Plasmodium falciparum proteins secreted upon gamete formation

Sci Rep. 2022 Jun 10;12(1):9592. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-13415-7.


Malaria long-term elimination depends on parasite transmission control. Plasmodium sexual stage maturation in the mosquito, including egress from the host erythrocyte, is one of the prime targets for transmission-blocking interventions. This work aims to identify candidate molecules potentially involved in gamete emergence from the host erythrocyte, as novel transmission blocking targets. We analyzed by quantitative mass spectrometry the proteins released/secreted by purified Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes upon induction of gametogenesis. The proteome obtained showed a good overlap (74%) with the one previously characterized in similar conditions from gametocytes of the rodent malaria parasite P. berghei. Four candidates were selected based on comparative analysis of their abundance values in released vs total gametocyte proteome. We also characterized the P. falciparum orthologue of the microgamete surface protein (MiGS), a marker of male gametocyte secretory vesicles in murine models of malaria. The findings of this study reveal that all the selected candidate proteins are expressed in both genders and localize to vesicle-like structures that respond to gametogenesis stimuli. This result, together with the fact that the selected proteins are released during gamete emergence in both Plasmodium species, makes them interesting candidates for future functional studies to investigate their potential role in the gametogenesis process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Germ Cells / metabolism
  • Malaria* / parasitology
  • Malaria, Falciparum* / parasitology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Plasmodium falciparum / metabolism
  • Proteome / metabolism
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism


  • Proteome
  • Protozoan Proteins