Hemoglobin degradation is a metabolic process that is central to the growth and maturation of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Two aspartic proteases that initiate degradation, plasmepsins (PMs) I and II, have been identified and extensively characterized. Eight additional PM genes are present in the P. falciparum genome. To better understand the enzymology of hemoglobin degradation, it is necessary to determine which of these genes are expressed when hemoglobin degradation is occurring, which encode active enzymes, and which gene products are found in the food vacuole where catabolism takes place. Our genome-wide analysis reveals that PM I, II, and IV and histoaspartic protease encode hemoglobin-degrading food vacuole proteases. Despite having a histidine in place of one of the catalytic aspartic acids conserved in other aspartic proteases, histo-aspartic protease is an active hydrolase.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jan 22 2002|
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