Journal article

Organization and function of an actin cytoskeleton in Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes

Marion Hliscs, Coralie Millet, Matthew W Dixon, Inga Siden-Kiamos, Paul McMillan, Leann Tilley



In preparation for transmission to its mosquito vector, Plasmodium falciparum, the most virulent of the human malaria parasites, adopts an unusual elongated shape. Here we describe a previously unrecognized actin-based cytoskeleton that is assembled in maturing P. falciparum gametocytes. Differential extraction reveals the presence of a highly stabilized population of F-actin at all stages of development. Super-resolution microscopy reveals an F-actin cytoskeleton that is concentrated at the ends of the elongating gametocyte but extends inward along the microtubule cytoskeleton. Formin-1 is also concentrated at the gametocyte ends suggesting a role in actin stabilization. Immunoelectron micr..

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Awarded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Ching-Seng Ang from the Mass Spectrometry and Proteomic Facility Bio21 Institute, Shannon Kenny, Bio21 Institute, and Lefteris Spanos, Foundation for Research and Technology, Hellas, for technical support. We thank Jake Baum from Imperial College, London, for generously providing the anti-ACT<INF>239-253</INF> and anti-formin-1 antibodies and for helpful comments on the manuscript. We thank Geoff McFadden from the School of Botany University of Melbourne for providing the ACP antibody, Martin Blume and Malcom McConville from Bio21 Institute for sharing equipment, and David Sibley for useful discussions. Microscopy was performed at the Melbourne Advanced Microscopy Facility and the Biological Optical Microscopy Platform, University of Melbourne ( We thank Dr Eric Hanssen for imaging contributions. This work is supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (HL65/1-1) (to MH) and by grants from the Australian Research Council and the Australian National Health & Medical Research Council. LT is an ARC Australian Professorial Fellow.