Identification and functional analysis of the primary pantothenate transporter, PfPAT, of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum

Yoann Augagneur, Lise Jaubert, Matthieu Schiavoni, Niseema Pachikara, Aprajita Garg, Sahar Usmani-Brown, Donna Wesolowski, Skye Zeller, Abhisek Ghosal, Emmanuel Cornillot, Hamid M. Said, Priti Kumar, Sidney Altman, Choukri Ben Mamoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is absolutely dependent on the acquisition of host pantothenate for its development within human erythrocytes. Although the biochemical properties of this transport have been characterized, the molecular identity of the parasite-encoded pantothenate transporter remains unknown. Here we report the identification and functional characterization of the first protozoan pantothenate transporter, PfPAT, from P. falciparum. We show using cell biological, biochemical, and genetic analyses that this transporter is localized to the parasite plasma membrane and plays an essential role in parasite intraerythrocytic development. We have targeted PfPAT to the yeast plasma membrane and showed that the transporter complements the growth defect of the yeast fen2Δ pantothenate transporter-deficient mutant and mediates the entry of the fungicide drug, fenpropimorph. Our studies in P. falciparum revealed that fenpropimorph inhibits the intraerythrocytic development of both chloroquine- and pyrimeth-amine-resistant P. falciparum strains with potency equal or better than that of currently available pantothenate analogs. The essential function of PfPAT and its ability to deliver both pantothenate and fenpropimorph makes it an attractive target for the development and delivery of new classes of antimalarial drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20558-20567
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 12 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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