Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences

Dr. Tobili Sam-Yellowe

Ph.D., University of Montana
Office Phone: (216) 687-2068
Lab Phone: (216) 687-2482
COSHP Faculty Profile



BS Microbiology, University of Oklahoma 1979
MS Microbiology, University of Oklahoma 1981
PhD Microbiology, University of Montana 1986
MPH Public Health, Cleveland State University 2009

Research Interests

Malaria immunology, cell biology and molecular biology

A major research area in my lab involves investigations of the role of rhoptry proteins in erythrocyte binding and invasion by Plasmodium merozoites. Investigations include: proteome analysis of the merozoite rhoptries, study of the immune response to rhoptry proteins & identification of determinants of blood stage immunity to Plasmodium in murine models, development of diagnostic biomarkers for malaria and mechanisms of the formation and function of the parasitophorous vacuole during intracellular blood stage development of Plasmodium. Rhoptries are specialized organelles found in invasive stages of Apicomplexan parasites such as in Plasmodium sp, the causative agent of malaria. Rhoptry proteins released during merozoite attachment and invasion into the host erythrocyte aid in the formation of the tight junction and parasitophorous vacuole. We investigated the composition of the rhoptry organelle using antibody production against isolated rhoptries and also by multidimensional protein identification technology (MudPIT) using isolated rhoptries. We identified novel proteins within the organelle that we are currently characterizing with the aim of identifying genes encoding proteins that participate in merozite invasion, parasitophorous vacuole formation, development of blood stage immunity and the identification of motifs critical to binding and host cell invasion shared among invasive stages (zoites) within the Apicomplexa.

A second area of interest in the lab is macromolecular trafficking within the infected erythrocyte. We continue to investigate the Maurer’s clefts (MCs), structures that are formed as part of an elaborate intracellular membrane network in Plasmodium falciparum- infected red blood cells. Proteins destined to secretory compartments within the infected erythrocyte and to the surface of the infected erythrocyte are transported through this network. Using proteome analysis of immune complexes, we identified a novel multigene family; PfMC-2TM that encodes proteins located in the MCs. We continue to investigate this new gene family to understand the mechanisms of protein traffic within the infected erythrocyte, the role of PfMC-2TM proteins in protein traffic and formation & maintenance of the MCs during the blood stage of P. falciparum.

Selected Publications

1. Sam-Yellowe, T. Y., Florens, L., Johnson, J. R., Wang, T., Drazba, J. A., Le Roch, K. G., Zhou, Y., Batalov, S., Carucci, D. J., Winzeler, E. A. and Yates, J. R. III. (2004) A Plasmodium gene family encoding Maurer’s cleft membrane proteins: Structural properties and expression profiling. Genome Research 14:1052-1059.

2. Sam-Yellowe, T. Y., Florens, L., Wang, T., Raine, J. D., Carucci, D. J., Sinden, R. and Yates. J. R. III (2004) Proteome analysis of rhoptry organelles isolated from Plasmodium merozoites. Journal of Proteome Research 3:995-1001.

3. Wang, T., Fujioka, H., Drazba, J. A. and Sam-Yellowe, T. Y. (2006) Rhop-3 protein conservation among Plasmodium species and induced protection against lethal P. yoelii and P. berghei challenge. Parasitology Research, Parasitol. Res. 99:238-252.

4. T. Sam-Yellowe, T. Wang, J. Tao, T. Banks, L. Everett, J. Drazba, and H. Fujioka (2006) Cloning of a Novel Plasmodium yoelii parasitophorous vacuole membrane gene. Proceedings of the 11th International Congress of Parasitology (ICOPA XI) August 6-11, 2006, page 571-576.

5. T. Banks, S. Gaines, N. Lovelace, H. Fujioka and T. Sam-Yellowe (2006) Novel Plasmodium yoelii merozoite rhoptry proteins. Proceedings of the 11th International Congress of Parasitology (ICOPA XI) August 6-11, 2006, page 251-256.

6. Sam-Yellowe, T. Y., Banks, T. L., Fujioka, H., Drazba, J. A. and Yadav, S. P. (2008) Plasmodium yoelii: Novel rhoptry proteins identified within the body of merozoite rhoptries in rodent Plasmodium malaria. Exp. Parasitol. 120:113-117.

7. Tsarukyanova, I., Drazba, J. A., Fujioka, H., Yadav, S. and Sam-Yellowe, T. Y. (2009) Proteins of the Plasmodium falciparum two transmembrane Maurer’s cleft protein family, PfMC-2TM and the 130 kDa Maurer’s cleft protein define different domains of the infected erythrocyte intramembranous network. Parasitol. Res. 104:875-891.

8. Sam-Yellowe, T. Y. (2009) The role of the Maurer’s clefts in protein transport in Plasmodium falciparum. Trend Parasitol. 25:277-284.

Current Curriculum Vitae