The <i>Plasmodium falciparum</i> Schizont Phosphoproteome Reveals Extensive Phosphatidylinositol and cAMP-Protein Kinase A Signaling

The asexual blood stages of <i>Plasmodium falciparum</i> cause the most lethal form of human malaria. During growth within an infected red blood cell, parasite multiplication and formation of invasive merozoites is called schizogony. Here, we present a detailed analysis of the phosphoproteome of <i>P. falciparum</i> schizonts revealing 2541 unique phosphorylation sites, including 871 novel sites. Prominent roles for cAMP-dependent protein kinase A- and phosphatidylinositol-signaling were identified following analysis by functional enrichment, phosphoprotein interaction network clustering and phospho-motif identification tools. We observed that most key enzymes in the inositol pathway are phosphorylated, which strongly suggests additional levels of regulation and crosstalk with other protein kinases that coregulate different biological processes. A distinct pattern of phosphorylation of proteins involved in merozoite egress and red blood cell invasion was noted. The analyses also revealed that cAMP-PKA signaling is implicated in a wide variety of processes including motility. We verified this finding experimentally using an in vitro kinase assay and identified three novel PKA substrates associated with the glideosome motor complex: myosin A, GAP45 and CDPK1. Therefore, in addition to an established role for CDPK1 in the motor complex, this study reveals the coinvolvement of PKA, further implicating cAMP as an important regulator of host cell invasion.