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Int J Parasitol. 2004 Dec;34(13-14):1413-29.

Parasite ligand-host receptor interactions during invasion of erythrocytes by Plasmodium merozoites.

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Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 12735 Twinbrook Parkway, Building Twinbrook III/Room 3E-32D, Bethesda, MD 20892-8132, USA.


Malaria parasites must recognise and invade different cells during their life cycle. The efficiency with which Plasmodium falciparum invades erythrocytes of all ages is an important virulence factor, since the ability of the parasite to reach high levels of parasitemia is often associated with severe pathology and morbidity. The merozoite invasion of erythrocytes is a highly complex, multi-step process that is dependent on a cascade of specific molecular interactions. Although many proteins are known to play an important role in invasion, their functional characteristics remain unclear. Therefore, a complete understanding of the molecular interactions that are the basis of the invasion process is absolutely crucial, not only in improving our knowledge about the basic biology of the malarial parasite, but also for the development of intervention strategies to counter the disease. Here we review the current state of knowledge about the receptor-ligand interactions that mediate merozoite invasion of erythrocytes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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