NAD(P) transhydrogenase has vital non-mitochondrial functions in malaria parasite transmission

Sadia Saeed, Annie Z. Tremp, Vikram Sharma, Edwin Lasonder, Johannes T. Dessens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and its phosphorylated form (NADP) are vital for cell function in all organisms and form cofactors to a host of enzymes in catabolic and anabolic processes. NAD(P) transhydrogenases (NTHs) catalyse hydride ion transfer between NAD(H) and NADP(H). Membrane-bound NTH isoforms reside in the cytoplasmic membrane of bacteria, and the inner membrane of mitochondria in metazoans, where they generate NADPH. Here, we show that malaria parasites encode a single membrane-bound NTH that localises to the crystalloid, an organelle required for sporozoite transmission from mosquitos to vertebrates. We demonstrate that NTH has an essential structural role in crystalloid biogenesis, whilst its enzymatic activity is required for sporozoite development. This pinpoints an essential function in sporogony to the activity of a single crystalloid protein. Its additional presence in the apicoplast of sporozoites identifies NTH as a likely supplier of NADPH for this organelle during liver infection. Our findings reveal that Plasmodium species have co-opted NTH to a variety of non-mitochondrial organelles to provide a critical source of NADPH reducing power.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere47832
JournalEMBO Reports
Issue number3
Early online date17 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


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