Collins, Joey Marisha. “Proteasome Inhibition in P. falciparum”. PhD, Boston College, 2015. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:104638.
The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS), composed of classes of proteins central to the process of cellular protein turnover in eukaryotes, is essential to the life cycle of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Although the UPS has been well characterized in other organisms, the extent of its involvement in different stages of P. falciparum growth and development has not been investigated in depth. MG132, a small-molecule proteasome inhibitor known to target the 20S proteasome core (part of the catalytic center for selective protein degradation), has been used successfully in many research studies that require proteasome inhibition. We present data supportive of the conclusion that MG132 is highly effective as a tool for P. falciparum research. In this thesis, I describe the effects of partial and complete proteasome inhibition on parasite growth and development by the use of variable concentrations of MG132. I also assess the effects of MG132 on 20S P. falciparum proteasome enzymatic activities. I have generated parasite lines that exhibit tolerance, or low-level resistance, to MG132, through intermittent compound exposure. Sequencing of the catalytic β-5 subunit of the MG132-tolerant parasites reveals non-synonymous point mutations in three tolerant parasite lines. The use of MG132 as a tool compound for study of the UPS in P. falciparum facilitates research into detailed roles of the proteasome using reversible partial and complete inhibition. MG132-tolerant lines are also valuable tools for studying the genesis of different levels of drug resistance and cross-resistance in parasite evolution.