Caractérisation moléculaire et fonctionnelle de la pseudo-tyrosine kinase-like (pTKL) de plasmodium

Abstract : Malaria is the first endemic parasitic disease in the world with nearly half million deaths in 2017 according to the WHO. This disease is the result of an infection by an agent belonging to the Plasmodium genus. This apicomplexan parasite infects two hosts over its complex life cycle: a definitive one – a mosquito belonging to the Anopheles genus – and a homoeothermic intermediate host. At least six Plasmodium species can infect humans. In its intermediate host, Plasmodium first replicates in hepatocytes before releasing erythrocyte-infectious stages in the bloodstream. Once there, parasites invade and replicate within erythrocytes, before lysing them to release other infectious stages. This triggers an exponential rise in the parasitemia, as well as malaria symptoms. Sexual stages, called gametocytes, are produced over this intra-erythrocytic cycle to be transmitted to the arthropod vector, thus allowing the completion of the parasite life cycle.Plasmodium co-evolved with its hosts and set up diverse gene expression regulation pathways accordingly. Phosphorylation is one of the major and fastest post-translational modifications used by the parasite to respond to environmental changes. Many of its kinases and phosphatases play key roles in host cell invasion, cellular growth and division, as well as motility of specific developmental stages. However, the role of the five pseudo-kinases expressed by Plasmodium has not been explored yet.During my PhD project, I have performed the characterization of the unique Plasmodium pseudo-Tyrosine Kinase-like (pTKL) and explored its role over the parasite intra-erythrocytic cycle.P. falciparum pTKL (PfpTKL) in silico annotation allowed the delineation of the protein domains. Notably, a SAM (Sterile Alpha Motif) domain, two RVxF motifs (known for their binding potential with the major protein phosphatase type 1, PP1) and a pseudo-kinase domain belonging to Tyrosine Kinase-like (TKL) family were found. This pseudo-kinase domain was found to be able to bind ATP in a cation-independent way although devoid of kinase activity. Two parasite protein partners of PfpTKL have been identified using in vitro protein-protein interaction studies together with heterologous models (yeast, Xenopus ovocytes). First, PfSERA5 (SErine Repeat Antigen 5) specifically and strongly interacts with PfpTKL SAM domain and second, PfPP1c binds the two RVxF-containing regions of PfpTKL. Interestingly, the second RVxF motif, which is located within the pseudo-kinase domain, directly binds PfPP1c and seems to be involved in the allosteric regulation of the phosphatase activity. The subcellular localization of P. berghei pTKL (PbpTKL) was studied by IFA as well as sequential lysis of erythrocytes followed by immunoprecipitation assays. PbpTKL was shown to be exported to the host cell cytosol at the trophozoite stage, but retained in the parasitophorous vacuole and the parasite cytosol at the schizont stage. Furthermore, our interactome analysis conducted at the trophozoite stage by IP/MS showed that PbpTKL binds many host cell proteins involved in erythrocyte cytoskeleton organization, as well as erythropoiesis and cell homeostasis. These data suggest that pTKL plays a role at the parasite/host interface, either directly or via its protein partners.Finally, in an attempt to understand the role of pTKL for the parasite development, we generated genetically modified P. berghei strains. The phenotypic study of PbpTKL KO and iKD strains did not show any difference between the defective parasites and the parental wild type ones during the intra-erythrocytic cycle, gametocyte expression and male gametocyte activation. These data suggest the dispensability of pTKL or the expression of redundant gene(s) with similar functions in these parasite stages. Whatever the explanation, it is still important to follow up this investigation in other parasite stages, from zygotes to hepatic stages.
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Bénédicte Gnangnon. Caractérisation moléculaire et fonctionnelle de la pseudo-tyrosine kinase-like (pTKL) de plasmodium. Médecine humaine et pathologie. Université du Droit et de la Santé - Lille II, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019LIL2S003⟩. ⟨tel-02170170⟩

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