Bioinformatics research on Plasmodium falciparum revealed two isoforms of pyruvate kinase: type-I and type-II enzymes. The type-I enzyme shows typical glycolytic properties, while type-II enzyme is involved in fatty acid type-II biosynthesis and has been predicted to localize to the apicoplast with the targeting signal in its N-terminus. The type-I and type-II isoforms have the same evolutionary origin as Toxoplasma gondii isozymes, TgPyKI and TgPyKII, respectively; however, TgPyKII localizes to both the mitochondrion and the apicoplast. Accordingly, we made a recombinant full length of P. falciparum pyruvate kinase type-II protein using a wheat germ cell-free expression system and obtained a specific antibody against the type-II protein. Fluorescent microscopic analysis revealed that P. falciparum type-II enzyme was localized only to the apicoplast, not to the mitochondrion. The data suggest differences in localization and metabolic pathways between P. falciparum and T. gondii pyruvate kinase isoforms.
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