LCCL protein complex formation in Plasmodium is critically dependent on LAP1.
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Successful sporogony of Plasmodium berghei in vector mosquitoes requires expression of a family of six modular proteins named LCCL lectin domain adhesive-like proteins (LAPs). The LAPs share a subcellular localization in the crystalloid, a unique parasite organelle that forms during ookinete development. Here, LAP interactions in P. berghei were studied using a series of parasite lines stably expressing reporter-tagged LAPs combined with affinity purification and high accuracy label free quantitative mass spectrometry. Our results show that abundant complexes containing LAP1, LAP2 and LAP3 are formed in gametocytes through high avidity interactions. Following fertilization, LAP4, LAP5 and LAP6 are recruited to this complex, a process that is facilitated by LAP1 chiefly through its scavenger receptor cysteine-rich modules. These collective findings provide new insight into the temporal and molecular dynamics of protein complex formation that lead up to, and are required for, crystalloid biogenesis and downstream sporozoite transmission of malaria parasites.
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