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Parasitology. 2008 Jan;135(Pt 1):1-12. Epub 2007 Oct 2.

Vesicle trafficking during sporozoite development in Plasmodium berghei: ultrastructural evidence for a novel trafficking mechanism.

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  • 1Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, USM 504 Biologie fonctionnelle des Protozoaires, EA 3335, CP 52, 61 Rue Buffon, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France.


Oocysts from Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes fed on murine blood infected with Plasmodium berghei berghei, were fixed for electron microscopy 6-12 days post-feeding. Ultrastructural analysis focused on Golgi-related trafficking pathways for rhoptry and microneme formation during sporogony. A small Golgi complex of 1-3 cisternae is formed close to the spindle pole body from coated vesicles budded from the nuclear envelope which is confluent with the endoplasmic reticulum. Rhoptries begin as small spheroidal bodies apparently formed by fusion of Golgi-derived vesicles, lengthening to 3-4 microm, and increasing in number to 4 per sporozoite. Ultrastructural data indicate the presence of a novel mechanism for vesicle transport between the Golgi complex and rhoptries along a longitudinal 30 nm - thick fibre (rootlet fibre or tigelle). Filamentous links between vesicles and rootlet indicate that this is a previously undescribed vesicle transport organelle. Genesis of micronemes occurs late in bud maturation and starts as spheroidal dense-cored vesicles (pro-micronemes), transforming to their mature bottle-like shape as they move apically. Filamentous links also occur between micronemes and subpellicular microtubules, indicating that as in merozoites, micronemes are trafficked actively along these structures.

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