Inverted recruitment of autophagy proteins to the Plasmodium berghei parasitophorous vacuole membrane

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© 2017 Schmuckli-Maurer et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Selective autophagy and related mechanisms can act as variable defense mechanisms against pathogens and can therefore be considered as intracellular immune responses. When in hepatocytes, Plasmodium parasites reside in a parasitophorous vacuole (PV) and the PV membrane (PVM) is the main contact site between host cell and parasite. Early in infection, the PVM is directly labeled with host cell autophagy proteins LC3B and p62 (nucleoporin 62). We investigated the recruitment of different selective autophagy receptors and could show that mainly p62 and NBR1 (neighbour of BRCA1 gene 1) and to a lesser extent NDP52 (nuclear dot protein 52) associate with the PVM. To investigate the recruitment of these receptors to the PVM in Plasmodium-infected cells, we generated LC3B knock out HeLa cells. In these cell lines, autophagosome formation and autophagic flux are not different to those in WT cells. Unexpectedly, p62 and NBR1 recruitment to the PVM was strongly impaired in LC3B-negative host cells, suggesting that LC3B recruits both receptors to the PVM of Plasmodium parasites. We also noticed that LC3B recruited ubiquitin to the PVM. This indicates that, in comparison to classical selective autophagy, in P. berghei-infected cells the order of membrane labeling with autophagy proteins appears to be inverted from canonical ubiquitin-receptor-LC3B recruitment to LC3B-receptor and possibly ubiquitin.




Schmuckli-Maurer, J., Reber, V., Wacker, R., Bindschedler, A., Zakher, A., & Heussler, V. T. (2017). Inverted recruitment of autophagy proteins to the Plasmodium berghei parasitophorous vacuole membrane. PLoS ONE, 12(8).

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