Regulation of Starch Stores by a Ca2+-Dependent Protein Kinase Is Essential for Viable Cyst Development in Toxoplasma gondii

Alessandro D. Uboldi, James M. McCoy, Martin Blume, Motti Gerlic, David J.P. Ferguson, Laura F. Dagley, Cherie T. Beahan, David I. Stapleton, Paul R. Gooley, Antony Bacic, Seth L. Masters, Andrew I. Webb, Malcolm J. McConville, Christopher J. Tonkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Summary Transmissible stages of Toxoplasma gondii store energy in the form of the carbohydrate amylopectin. Here, we show that the Ca2+-dependent protein kinase CDPK2 is a critical regulator of amylopectin metabolism. Increased synthesis and loss of degradation of amylopectin in CDPK2 deficient parasites results in the hyperaccumulation of this sugar polymer. A carbohydrate-binding module 20 (CBM20) targets CDPK2 to amylopectin stores, while the EF-hands regulate CDPK2 kinase activity in response to Ca2+ to modulate amylopectin levels. We identify enzymes involved in amylopectin turnover whose phosphorylation is dependent on CDPK2 activity. Strikingly, accumulation of massive amylopectin granules in CDPK2-deficient bradyzoite stages leads to gross morphological defects and complete ablation of cyst formation in a mouse model. Together these data show that Ca2+ signaling regulates carbohydrate metabolism in Toxoplasma and that the post-translational control of this pathway is required for normal cyst development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)670-681
Number of pages12
JournalCell Host and Microbe
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

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