Biosynthesis of two stage-specific membrane proteins during transformation of Plasmodium gallinaceum zygotes into ookinetes

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology








Acylation; Biosynthesis; Glycosylation; Ookinetes; Plasmodium gallinaceum; Transmission-blocking immunity; Zygotes


We have studied the synthesis and expression of surface proteins in zygotes of Plasmodium gallinaceum during their transformation to mature ookinetes. The cells were biosynthetically labelled in vitro using [35S]methionine and proteins were immunoprecipitated with rabbit anti-ookinete serum or monoclonal antibodies. Early zygotes (approx. 2 h post-gametogenesis and fertilization) synthesized and expressed on their surface a protein of Mr 26 000 as observed under reducing conditions on polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis in the presence of sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS-PAGE) (31 000 under non-reducing conditions) and continued to do so for 8-10 h; thereafter synthesis of the Mr 26 000 protein declined and little or none was synthesized in the mature ookinetes (>20 h post-gametogenesis). Between 3-5 h post-gametogenesis, zygotes also began to synthesize a protein of Mr 28 000 (34 000 under non-reducing conditions). Synthesis and expression of this surface protein continued throughout development; and the Mr 28 000 protein was the predominant surface protein synthesized by the mature ookinete. Mr 26 000 and Mr 28 000 proteins have been designated earlier as PgO-1 and PgO-2 respectively (Carter and Kaushal, Mol. Biochem. Parasitol. (1984) 13, 235-241). Neither protein was synthesized in the gametocytes prior to gametogenesis. Both proteins could be labelled with [3H]glucosamine or [3H]mannose. When zygotes were incubated with [3H]palmitic acid both PgO-1 and PgO-2 bound fatty acids in covalent linkage. The two proteins do not otherwise appear to be structurally related. They were differentially immunoprecipitated by different monoclonal antibodies and gave rise to distinct patterns of peptides following digestion with proteases such as Staphylococcus aureus V-8, trypsin and chymotrypsin. © 1985.