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Bioinformatics and Biology Insights

Homology-Based Prediction of Potential Protein–Protein Interactions between Human Erythrocytes and Plasmodium falciparum

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Bioinformatics and Biology Insights 2015:9 195-206

Original Research

Published on 20 Dec 2015

DOI: 10.4137/BBI.S31880


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Abstract

Plasmodium falciparum, a causative agent of malaria, is a well-characterized obligate intracellular parasite known for its ability to remodel host cells, particularly erythrocytes, to successfully persist in the host environment. However, the current levels of understanding from the laboratory experiments on the host–parasite interactions and the strategies pursued by the parasite to remodel host erythrocytes are modest. Several computational means developed in the recent past to predict host–parasite/pathogen interactions have generated testable hypotheses on feasible protein–protein interactions. We demonstrate the utility of protein structure-based protocol in the recognition of potential interacting proteins across P. falciparum and host erythrocytes. In concert with the information on the expression and subcellular localization of host and parasite proteins, we have identified 208 biologically feasible interactions potentially brought about by 59 P. falciparum and 30 host erythrocyte proteins. For selected cases, we have evaluated the physicochemical viability of the predicted interactions in terms of surface complementarity, electrostatic complementarity, and interaction energies at protein interface regions. Such careful inspection of molecular and mechanistic details generates high confidence on the predicted host–parasite protein–protein interactions. The predicted host–parasite interactions generate many experimentally testable hypotheses that can contribute to the understanding of possible mechanisms undertaken by the parasite in host erythrocyte remodeling. Thus, the key protein players recognized in P. falciparum can be explored for their usefulness as targets for chemotherapeutic intervention.



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