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Uncovering the essential genes of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum by saturation mutagenesis.

Accepted version
Peer-reviewed

Type

Article

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Authors

Wang, Chengqi 
Liao, Xiangyun 

Abstract

Severe malaria is caused by the apicomplexan parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Despite decades of research, the distinct biology of these parasites has made it challenging to establish high-throughput genetic approaches to identify and prioritize therapeutic targets. Using transposon mutagenesis of P. falciparum in an approach that exploited its AT-rich genome, we generated more than 38,000 mutants, saturating the genome and defining mutability and fitness costs for over 87% of genes. Of 5399 genes, our study defined 2680 genes as essential for optimal growth of asexual blood stages in vitro. These essential genes are associated with drug resistance, represent leading vaccine candidates, and include approximately 1000 Plasmodium-conserved genes of unknown function. We validated this approach by testing proteasome pathways for individual mutants associated with artemisinin sensitivity.

Description

Keywords

Animals, Antimalarials, Artemisinins, Conserved Sequence, Drug Resistance, Erythrocytes, Genes, Essential, Genes, Protozoan, Genetic Fitness, Humans, Malaria Vaccines, Malaria, Falciparum, Mutagenesis, Plasmodium falciparum, Reproduction, Asexual

Journal Title

Science

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

0036-8075
1095-9203

Volume Title

360

Publisher

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)