Molecular cloning of a K+ channel from the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum

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In most living cells, K(+) channels are important for the generation of the membrane potential and for volume regulation. The parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which causes malignant malaria, must be able to deal with large variations in the ambient K(+) concentration: it is exposed to high concentrations of K(+) when inside the erythrocyte and low concentrations when in plasma. In the recently published genome of P. falciparum, we have identified a gene, pfkch1, encoding a potential K(+) channel, which to some extent resembles the big-conductance (BK) K(+) channel. We have cloned the approximately 6000 nucleotide (nt) fragment from cDNA, studied the pattern of expression of pfkch1 throughout the intraerythrocytic part of the parasite's life-cyclus, and characterized the channel on the basis of similarity to other K(+) channels from pro- and eukaryotic organisms. This P. falciparum K(+) channel could be a potential drug target.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)477-84
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Bibliographical note

Keywords: Amino Acid Sequence; Animals; Base Sequence; Cloning, Molecular; Conserved Sequence; Erythrocytes; Gene Expression; Humans; Malaria; Membrane Proteins; Molecular Sequence Data; Phylogeny; Plasmodium falciparum; Potassium Channels; Protozoan Proteins; RNA, Messenger; Sequence Alignment

ID: 8669776