Characterization of PfPKA and PfPK5 substrates, as well as the proteins they interact with, will help us to develop innovative therapies targeting binding sites.; Malaria is a devastating disease that results in almost one million deaths annually. Most of the victims are children under the age of five in Sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria parasite strains throughout developing countries are continually building resistance to available drugs. Current therapies such as mefloquine, chloroquine, as well as artemisinin are becoming less effective, and this underscores the urgency for therapeutics directed against novel drug targets. In order to identify new drug targets, the molecular biology of the malaria parasite Plasmodium needs to be elucidated. Plasmodium exhibits a unique cell cycle in which it undergoes multiple rounds of DNA synthesis and mitosis without cytokinesis. Thus, cell cycle regulatory proteins are likely to be promising pathogen-specific drug targets. It is expected that fluctuating activity of key proteins, such as protein kinases, play an essential role in regulating the noncanonical life cycle of Plasmodium. Consequently, malarial kinases are a prime target for therapy. One way to better understand the role of malarial kinases in Plasmodium cell cycle regulation is to identify putative protein kinase substrates and interacting proteins. Two malarial kinases that have been implicated in regulating malaria parasite cell cycle stages were investigated in this study: P. falciparum CDK-like Protein Kinase 5 (PfPK5) and cAMP-Dependent Protein Kinase A (PfPKA). A transgenic P. falciparum line was created for the expression of epitope-tagged PfPK5 for pull-down analysis. Phospho-substrate antibodies were used to identify physiological substrates of both PfPK5 and PfPKA. Immunoblotting with these antibodies identified several potential substrates. Identities of the PfPKA physiological substrates were determined from the global P. falciparum phosphoproteome dataset that has recently been generated in our laboratory.


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Thesis Completion





Chakrabarti, Debopam


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences

Degree Program

Molecular Biology and Microbiology


Dissertations, Academic -- Medicine;Medicine -- Dissertations, Academic







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis