Journal article

Cryo-electron tomography reveals four-membrane architecture of the Plasmodium apicoplast

Leandro Lemgruber, Mikhail Kudryashev, Chaitali Dekiwadia, David T Riglar, Jake Baum, Henning Stahlberg, Stuart A Ralph, Friedrich Frischknecht



BACKGROUND: The apicoplast is a plastid organelle derived from a secondary endosymbiosis, containing biosynthetic pathways essential for the survival of apicomplexan parasites. The Toxoplasma apicoplast clearly possesses four membranes but in related Plasmodium spp. the apicoplast has variably been reported to have either three or four membranes. METHODS: Cryo-electron tomography was employed to image merozoites of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium berghei frozen in their near-native state. Three-dimensional reconstructions revealed the number of apicoplast membranes and the association of the apicoplast with other organelles. Routine transmission electron microscopy of parasites preserve..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by ARC Future fellowship

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Marek Cyrklaff for discussions, Claudia Kuss for P. falciparum culture, Jessica Kehrer and Mirko Singer for help with P. berghei infections and Oliver Grunvogel for helping with the computational modelling. The work was funded by the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation and an ERC starting grant to FF, a postdoctoral fellowship of the University of Heidelberg Cluster of Excellence CellNetworks to LL, the Swiss initiative for Systems Biology (SystemsX. ch, grant CINA) to MK and HS, a Pratt Foundation postgraduate scholarship through the University of Melbourne to DTR. FF is a member of the European Network of Excellence EVIMalaR. DTR received a travel fellowship from the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a Harold Mitchell Travel Fellowship, and CD an OzeMalR travel award. SAR is supported by an ARC Future fellowship (FT0990350).