A plant-like kinase in Plasmodium falciparum regulates parasite egress from erythrocytes
Authors listJeffrey D Dvorin Derek C Martyn Saurabh D Patel Joshua S Grimley Christine R Collins Christine S Hopp A Taylor Bright Scott Westenberger Elizabeth Winzeler Michael Blackman David A Baker Thomas J Wandless Manoj T Duraisingh
Clinical malaria is associated with the proliferation of Plasmodium parasites in human erythrocytes. The coordinated processes of parasite egress from and invasion into erythrocytes are rapid and tightly regulated. We have found that the plant-like calcium-dependent protein kinase PfCDPK5, which is expressed in invasive merozoite forms of Plasmodium falciparum, was critical for egress. Parasites deficient in PfCDPK5 arrested as mature schizonts with intact membranes, despite normal maturation of egress proteases and invasion ligands. Merozoites physically released from stalled schizonts were capable of invading new erythrocytes, separating the pathways of egress and invasion. The arrest was downstream of cyclic guanosine monophosphate-dependent protein kinase (PfPKG) function and independent of protease processing. Thus, PfCDPK5 plays an essential role during the blood stage of malaria replication.