Pyp25α is required for male gametocyte exflagellation

Pathog Dis. 2022 Nov 12;80(1):ftac043. doi: 10.1093/femspd/ftac043.


Malaria, a mosquito-borne infectious disease, is caused by the unicellular apicomplexan protozoa of the genus Plasmodium. For malaria parasite transmission, the essential sexual stage includes production of gametocytes through gametocytogenesis in vertebrate hosts and formation of gametes from gametocytes through gametogenesis in mosquito vectors. Whereas each female gametocyte forms a single immotile macrogamete, a male gametocyte produces eight flagella-like microgametes in a process called exflagellation. We identified a conserved protein named as Py05543 (Pyp25α), required for male gametocyte exflagellation in Plasmodium yoelii, which is the ortholog of PFL1770c (PF3D7_1236600). Interestingly, PF3D7_1236600 was previously phenotypically screened to be gametocyte-essential genes during gametocytogenesis of Plasmodium falciparum, using piggyBac transposon-mediated insertional mutagenesis. In this study, using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing, the Pyp25α¯ (KO) parasite line was successfully established. We found that the KO parasites proliferated asexually in mouse blood normally. In addition, compared with that of the parental parasites, the KO parasites displayed similar levels of gametocytes formation. Unexpectedly, the KO parasites showed considerable deficiency in exflagellation of male gametes, by observing exflagellation centre formation. Taken together, our data suggested that Pyp25α gene, the ortholog of PF3D7_1236600, was nonessential for the growth of asexual parasites, required for male gametocyte exflagellation in P. yoelii.

Keywords: Plasmodium; Plasmodium yoelii; exflagellation center; gametocytogenesis; gametogenesis; malaria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Flagella
  • Gametogenesis / genetics
  • Malaria*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Plasmodium falciparum*