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Keywords:

  • cAMP;
  • malaria;
  • melatonin;
  • signalling;
  • transcription factor

Abstract:  Plasmodium falciparum causes the most severe form of malaria and is responsible for the majority of deaths worldwide. The mechanism of cell cycle control within intra-erythrocytic stages has been examined as a potential means of a promising way to identifying how to stop parasite development in red blood cells. Our group determined that melatonin increases parasitemia in P. falciparum and P. chabaudi through a complex signalling cascade. In vertebrates, melatonin controls the expression of transcription factors, leading us to postulate rather that the indoleamine would affect PfNF-YB expression in human malaria parasites. We show here that PfNF-YB transcription factor is highly expressed and colocalized in the nucleus in mature parasites during intra-erythrocytic stages, thus suggesting an important role in cell division. Moreover, we demonstrate for the first time that melatonin and cAMP modulate the PfNF-YB transcription factor expression in P. falciparum at erythrocytic stages. In addition, PfNF-YB is found to be more ubiquitinated in the presence of melatonin. Finally, the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib is able to modulate PfNF-YB expression as well. Taken together, our dada reinforce the role played by melatonin in the cell cycle control of P. falciparum and point this indolamine as a target to develop new antimalarial drugs.