Protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) is a key enzyme for Plasmodium development. However, the detailed mechanisms underlying its regulation remain to be deciphered. Here, we report the functional characterization of the Plasmodium berghei leucine-rich repeat protein 1 (PbLRR1), an orthologue of SDS22, one of the most ancient and conserved PP1 interactors. Our study shows that PbLRR1 is expressed during intra-erythrocytic development of the parasite, and up to the zygote stage in mosquitoes. PbLRR1 can be found in complex with PbPP1 in both asexual and sexual stages and inhibits its phosphatase activity. Genetic analysis demonstrates that PbLRR1 depletion adversely affects the development of oocysts. PbLRR1 interactome analysis associated with phospho-proteomics studies identifies several novel putative PbLRR1/PbPP1 partners. Some of these partners have previously been characterized as essential for the parasite sexual development. Interestingly, and for the first time, Inhibitor 3 (I3), a well-known and direct interactant of Plasmodium PP1, was found to be drastically hypophosphorylated in PbLRR1-depleted parasites. These data, along with the detection of I3 with PP1 in the LRR1 interactome, strongly suggest that the phosphorylation status of PbI3 is under the control of the PP1-LRR1 complex and could contribute (in)directly to oocyst development. This study provides new insights into previously unrecognized PbPP1 fine regulation of Plasmodium oocyst development through its interaction with PbLRR1.
Keywords: PP1; SDS22; inhibitor 3; leucine-rich repeat protein 1; protein phosphatase 1.