Detection of SUMOylation in Plasmodium falciparum

Katherine H. Reiter, Michael J. Matunis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Reversible protein modification by small ubiquitin-related modifiers (SUMOs) regulates many cellular processes, including transcription, protein quality control, cell division, and oxidative stress. SUMOylation is therefore essential for normal cell function and represents a potentially valuable target for the development of inhibitors of pathogenic eukaryotic organisms, including the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum (Pf). The specific and essential functions of SUMOylation in Pf, however, remain largely uncharacterized. The further development of antimalarial drugs targeting SUMOylation would benefit significantly from a more detailed understanding of its functions and regulation during the parasite life cycle. The recent development of antibodies specific for Pf SUMO provides a valuable tool to study the functions and regulation of SUMOylation. In preliminary studies, we have used immunoblot analysis to demonstrate that SUMOylation levels vary significantly in parasites during different stages of the red blood cell cycle and also in response to oxidative stress. Owing to the dynamic nature of SUMOylation and to the robust activity of SUMO isopeptidases, analysis of SUMOylation in cultured Pf parasites requires a number of precautions during parasite purification and lysis. Here, we outline methods for preserving SUMO conjugates during isolation of Pf parasites from human red blood cell cultures, and for their detection by immunoblot analysis using Pf SUMO-specific antibodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745


  • Immunoblotting
  • Malaria
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Posttranslational modification
  • SUMO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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