Structural insights into thioredoxin-2: A component of malaria parasite protein secretion machinery

  • Sharma A
  • Sharma A
  • Dixit S
 et al. 
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Thioredoxins are vital components of Plasmodium proteome and act as both reducing agents and protein disulfide reductases. The malaria parasite P. falciparum thioredoxin-2 (PfTrx-2) is part of the multi-protein complex embedded within the parasite parasitophorous vacuolar membrane (PVM) which purportedly directs protein secretion. We have characterized structural and enzymatic features of PfTrx-2, and we show that PfTrx-2 adopts a canonical thioredoxin fold but with significant structural differences in its N-terminus. Our confocal localization data suggest distinct PVM residency of PfTrx-2. Based on the crystal structure of PfTrx-2, we screened and tested small molecule drug-like libraries for compounds which target unique structural features of PfTrx-2. Disruption of PfTrx-2 interactions using specific inhibitors may result in a dysfunctional parasite translocon that is rendered unable to secrete pathogenic proteins into hosts. This approach therefore offers a new focus for anti-malarial drug development.

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