Journal article

Plasmodium falciparum responds to amino acid starvation by entering into a hibernatory state

Shalon E Babbitt, Lindsey Altenhofen, Simon A Cobbold, Eva S Istvan, Clare Fennell, Christian Doerig, Manuel Llinas, Daniel E Goldberg

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | NATL ACAD SCIENCES | Published : 2012

Abstract

The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is auxotrophic for most amino acids. Its amino acid needs are met largely through the degradation of host erythrocyte hemoglobin; however the parasite must acquire isoleucine exogenously, because this amino acid is not present in adult human hemoglobin. We report that when isoleucine is withdrawn from the culture medium of intraerythrocytic P. falciparum, the parasite slows its metabolism and progresses through its developmental cycle at a reduced rate. Isoleucine-starved parasites remain viable for 72 h and resume rapid growth upon resupplementation. Protein degradation during starvation is important for maintenance of this hibernatory state...

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University of Melbourne Researchers

Grants

Awarded by Burroughs Wellcome Fund for Investigators in Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health


Awarded by Center for Quantitative Biology


Awarded by NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF GENERAL MEDICAL SCIENCES


Awarded by OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH


Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Mark Drew and Paul Sigala for helpful suggestions, Anna Oksman for technical assistance, Jacobus Pharmaceuticals for WR99210, and MR4/John Adams for antisera. M. L. received support from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund for Investigators in Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health Grant 1DP2OD001315, and Center for Quantitative Biology Grant P50 GM071508.