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Trends Parasitol. 2007 Jun;23(6):268-77. Epub 2007 Apr 16.

Illuminating Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria 3086, Australia.


The malaria parasite undergoes a remarkable series of morphological transformations, which underpin its life in both human and mosquito hosts. The advent of molecular transfection technology coupled with the ability to introduce fluorescent reporter proteins that faithfully track and expose the activities of parasite proteins has revolutionized our view of parasite cell biology. The greatest insights have been realized in the erythrocyte stages of Plasmodium falciparum. P. falciparum invades and remodels the human erythrocyte: it feeds on haemoglobin, grows and divides, and subverts the physiology of its hapless host. Fluorescent proteins have been employed to track and dissect each of these processes and have revealed details and exposed new paradigms.

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