Dahan-Pasternak N, Nasereddin A, Kolevzon N, Pe'er M, Wong W, Shinder V, Turnbull L, Whitchurch CB, Elbaum M, Timgilberger W, Yavin E, Baum J, Dzikowski R
In Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest form of human malaria, the nuclear periphery has drawn much attention due to its role as a sub-nuclear compartment involved in virulence gene expression. Recent data have implicated components of the nuclear envelope in regulating gene expression in several eukaryotes. Special attention has been given to nucleoporins that compose the nuclear pore complex (NPC). However, very little is known about components of the nuclear envelope in Plasmodium parasites. Here we characterize PfSec13, an unusual nucleoporin of P. falciparum, which shows unique structural similarities suggesting that it is a fusion between Sec13 and Nup145C of yeast. Using super resolution fluorescence microscopy (3D-SIM) and in vivo imaging, we show that the dynamic localization of PfSec13 during parasites' intra-erythrocytic development corresponds with that of the NPCs and that these dynamics are associated with microtubules rather than with F-actin. In addition, PfSec13 does not co-localize with the heterochormatin markers HP1 and H3K9me3, suggesting euchromatic location of the NPCs. The proteins associated with PfSec13 indicate that this unusual Nup is involved in several cellular processes. Indeed, ultrastructural and chromatin immunoprecipitation analyses revealed that, in addition to the NPCs, PfSec13 is found in the nucleoplasm where it is associated with chromatin. Finally, we used peptide nucleic acids (PNA) to downregulate PfSec13 and show that it is essential for parasite proliferation in human erythrocytes.