COVID-19 represents an unprecedented health, social and economic challenge in Australia and around the world. Support Burnet’s COVID-19 emergency response today.
Several hundred malaria parasite proteins are exported beyond an encasing vacuole and into the cytosol of the host erythrocyte, a process that is central to the virulence and viability of the causative Plasmodium species. The trafficking machinery responsible for this export is unknown. Here we identify in Plasmodium falciparum a translocon of exported proteins (PTEX), which is located in the vacuole membrane. The PTEX complex is ATP-powered, and comprises heat shock protein 101 (HSP101; a ClpA/B-like ATPase from the AAA+ superfamily, of a type commonly associated with protein translocons), a novel protein termed PTEX150 and a known parasite protein, exported protein 2 (EXP2). EXP2 is the potential channel, as it is the membrane-associated component of the core PTEX complex. Two other proteins, a new protein PTEX88 and thioredoxin 2 (TRX2), were also identified as PTEX components. As a common portal for numerous crucial processes, this translocon offers a new avenue for therapeutic intervention.