The YihA TRAFAC GTPases are critical for late-stage assembly of the ribosomal large subunit (LSU). In order to explore biogenesis of the reduced organellar ribosomes of the malaria parasite, we identified three nuclear-encoded homologs of YihA in Plasmodium falciparum. PfYihA1 targeted to the parasite apicoplast, PfYihA2 to the mitochondrion, and PfYihA3 was found in both the apicoplast and cytosol. The three PfYihA, expressed as recombinant proteins, were active GTPases and interacted with surrogate E. coli ribosomes in a nucleotide-independent manner.
The apicoplast contains a genome that undergoes replication and repair through the action of a replicative polymerase (apPOL). apPOL has no direct orthologs in mammalian polymerases and is therefore an attractive antimalarial drug target.
The basic concept of this document stems from Patrick Ogwang, Makerere University, Uganda. Additional inputs on limonene and nerolidol from Pierre Lutgen, Belherb.