DOI: 10.3390/molecules29010178 ISSN: 1420-3049

Aptamer-Based Imaging of Polyisoprenoids in the Malaria Parasite

Flavia M. Zimbres, Emilio F. Merino, Grant J. Butschek, Joshua H. Butler, Frédéric Ducongé, Maria B. Cassera
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmaceutical Science

Dolichols are isoprenoid end-products of the mevalonate and 2C-methyl-D-erythritol-4-phosphate pathways. The synthesis of dolichols is initiated with the addition of several molecules of isopentenyl diphosphate to farnesyl diphosphate. This reaction is catalyzed by a cis-prenyltransferase and leads to the formation of polyprenyl diphosphate. Subsequent steps involve the dephosphorylation and reduction of the α-isoprene unit by a polyprenol reductase, resulting in the generation of dolichol. The size of the dolichol varies, depending on the number of isoprene units incorporated. In eukaryotes, dolichols are synthesized as a mixture of four or more different lengths. Their biosynthesis is predicted to occur in the endoplasmic reticulum, where dolichols play an essential role in protein glycosylation. In this study, we have developed a selection of aptamers targeting dolichols and enhanced their specificity by incorporating fatty acids for negative selection. One aptamer showed high enrichment and specificity for linear polyisoprenoids containing at least one oxygen atom, such as an alcohol or aldehyde, in the α-isoprene unit. The selected aptamer proved to be a valuable tool for the subcellular localization of polyisoprenoids in the malaria parasite. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that polyisoprenoids have been localized within a cell using aptamer-based imaging techniques.

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