An Unusual Prohibitin Regulates Malaria Parasite Mitochondrial Membrane Potential
Graphical Abstract Highlights d Plasmodium encodes three conserved SPFH proteins and one unusual family member, PHBL d PHBL is a Myzozoa-specific protein that promotes development in the mammalian host d PHBL function is essential for parasite colonization of the mosquito vector d PHBL-dependent transmission arrest correlates with the loss of DJ mt SUMMARY Proteins of the stomatin/prohibitin/flotillin/HfIK/C (SPFH) family are membrane-anchored and perform diverse cellular functions in different
... ctions in different organelles. Here, we investigate the SPFH proteins of the murine malaria model parasite Plasmodium berghei, the conserved prohibitin 1, prohibitin 2, and stomatinlike protein and an unusual prohibitin-like protein (PHBL). The SPFH proteins localize to the parasite mitochondrion. While the conserved family members could not be deleted from the Plasmodium genome, PHBL was successfully ablated, resulting in impaired parasite fitness and attenuated virulence in the mammalian host. Strikingly, PHBL-deficient parasites fail to colonize the Anopheles vector because of complete arrest during ookinete development in vivo. We show that this arrest correlates with depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane potential (DJ mt ). Our results underline the importance of SPFH proteins in the regulation of core mitochondrial functions and suggest that fine-tuning of DJ mt in malarial parasites is critical for colonization of the definitive host.