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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2000 Aug;3(4):422-8.

Protein-targeting determinants in the secretory pathway of apicomplexan parasites.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8022, USA.


Apicomplexan parasites possess a highly specialized secretory apparatus. The timed secretion of proteins from three different organelles--micronemes, rhoptries and dense granules--serves to establish and maintain a parasitophorous vacuole inside the host cell in which the parasites can divide. Recent efforts have identified components that sort apicomplexan proteins to these unusual secretory organelles and have shown that this machinery is evolutionarily conserved across species. Concise amino acid sequences (e.g. tyrosine-based motifs) within the targeted protein determine their destination in Apicomplexa in a way similar to mammalian cells. Additionally, the parasite exploits new or unusual mechanisms of protein targeting (e.g. post-secretory membrane insertion).

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