The sexual phase of Plasmodium represents a crucial step in malaria transmission, during which these parasites fertilize and form ookinetes to infect mosquitoes. Plasmodium development after fertilization is thought to proceed with female-stored mRNAs until the formation of a retort-form ookinete; thus, transcriptional activity in zygotes has previously been considered quiescent. In this study, we reveal the essential role of transcriptional activity in zygotes by investigating the function of a newly identified AP2 transcription factor, AP2-Z, in P. berghei. ap2-z was previously reported as a female transcriptional regulator gene whose disruption resulted in developmental arrest at the retort stage of ookinetes. In this study, although ap2-z was transcribed in females, we show that it was translationally repressed by the DOZI complex and translated after fertilization with peak expression at the zygote stage. ChIP-seq analysis of AP2-Z shows that it binds on specific DNA motifs, targeting the majority of genes known as an essential component of ookinetes, which largely overlap with the AP2-O targets, as well as genes that are unique among the targets of other sexual transcription factors. The results of this study also indicate the existence of a cascade of transcription factors, beginning with AP2-G, that proceeds from gametocytogenesis to ookinete formation.