Journal article

Sodium-dependent uptake of inorganic phosphate by the intracellular malaria parasite

Kevin J Saliba, Rowena E Martin, Angelika Broeer, Roselani I Henry, C Siobhan McCarthy, Megan J Downie, Richard JW Allen, Kylie A Mullin, Geoffrey I McFadden, Stefan Broeer, Kiaran Kirk

Nature | NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP | Published : 2006


As the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, grows within its host erythrocyte it induces an increase in the permeability of the erythrocyte membrane to a range of low-molecular-mass solutes, including Na+ and K+ (ref. 1). This results in a progressive increase in the concentration of Na+ in the erythrocyte cytosol. The parasite cytosol has a relatively low Na+ concentration and there is therefore a large inward Na+ gradient across the parasite plasma membrane. Here we show that the parasite exploits the Na+ electrochemical gradient to energize the uptake of inorganic phosphate (P(i)), an essential nutrient. P(i) was taken up into the intracellular parasite by a Na+-dependent transporter,..

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University of Melbourne Researchers