Analysis of the de novo biogenesis and development of the FV in live cells using PfCRT-GFP as a marker of the FV membrane. PfCRT was over-expressed as a GFP-fusion protein using an ATc-inducible expression system. (A) Live DAPI-stained cells were imaged. The earliest detectable and distinct localisation of PfCRT-GFP was observed in mid ring stage parasites, co-localising with a round spherical shape in proximity to the DAPI-stained nucleus. The characteristic dark haemozoin crystal was not yet visible in these parasites. In addition to FV labelling, some fluorescence was detectable at the ER. PfCRT-GFP labelling of the FV membrane was observed throughout the whole intra-erythrocytic life cycle. In accordance with an increase of the haemozoin crystal, the ring-like labelling of the FV membrane expanded as the parasite grew. An unexpected second PfCRT-GFP-labelled sphere was observed in schizont stage parasites. In some parasites this additional structure was associated/attached to the FV membrane (lower schizont panel). (B) An overlay with the corresponding brightfield (BF) image shows that in some parasites the additional PfCRT-GFP enclosed compartment (white arrow) is separate from the FV and surrounds a dark structure, possibly haemozoin.
Ehlgen F, Pham JS, de Koning-Ward T, Cowman AF, Ralph SA. Investigation of the Plasmodium falciparum food vacuole through inducible expression of the chloroquine resistance transporter (PfCRT). PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e38781.