Near-atomic structure of jasplakinolide-stabilized malaria parasite F-actin reveals the structural basis of filament instability [Biophysics and Computational Biology]
During their life cycle, apicomplexan parasites, such as the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, use actomyosin-driven gliding motility to move and invade host cells. For this process, actin filament length and stability are temporally and spatially controlled. In contrast to canonical actin, P. falciparum actin 1 (PfAct1) does not readily polymerize into long, stable filaments. The structural basis of filament instability, which plays a pivotal role in host cell invasion, and thus infectivity, is poorly understood, largely because high-resolution structures of PfAct1 filaments were missing. Here, we report the near-atomic structure of jasplakinolide (JAS)-stabilized PfAct1 filaments determined by electron cryomicroscopy. The general filament architecture is similar to that of mammalian F-actin. The high resolution of the structure allowed us to identify small but important differences at inter- and intrastrand contact sites, explaining the inherent instability of apicomplexan actin filaments. JAS binds at regular intervals inside the filament to three adjacent actin subunits, reinforcing filament stability by hydrophobic interactions. Our study reveals the high-resolution structure of a small molecule bound to F-actin, highlighting the potential of electron cryomicroscopy for structure-based drug design. Furthermore, our work serves as a strong foundation for understanding the structural design and evolution of actin filaments and their function in motility and host cell invasion of apicomplexan parasites.
Researcher is an app designed by academics, for academics. Create a personalised feed in two minutes.
Choose from over 15,000 academics journals covering ten research areas then let Researcher deliver you papers tailored to your interests each day.
Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.