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Commun Integr Biol. 2010 Jan;3(1):18-23.

Apicomplexan perforin-like proteins.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology; University of Michigan; Ann Arbor, MI USA.


Numerous perforin-like proteins are encoded in the genomes of apicomplexan parasites, where they are expressed in various life-cycle stages and play critical roles in pathogenesis and lifecycle progression. These ApiPLPs are characterized by the presence of a MACPF domain, responsible for pore-formation in target membranes in a number of systems, including many bacterial pathogens and effector cells of the immune response. ApiPLP MACPF domains maintain the critical structural elements but are often present in new and intriguing domain arrangements. Recent work in Toxoplasma and Plasmodium has shown that ApiPLPs are important for breaching membranes during parasite egress and cell traversal. Here we present an overview of this important protein family from a structural, functional and phylogenetic perspective across the Apicomplexa.


cell traversal; egress; membrane; plasmodium; pore formation; secretion; toxoplasma

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