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Cell Microbiol. 2006 Oct;8(10):1547-56.

Getting infectious: formation and maturation of Plasmodium sporozoites in the Anopheles vector.

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Department of Parasitology, Heidelberg University School of Medicine, Im Neuenheimer Feld 324, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


Research on Plasmodium sporozoite biology aims at understanding the developmental program steering the formation of mature infectious sporozoites - the transmission stage of the malaria parasite. The recent identification of genes that are vital for sporozoite egress from oocysts and subsequent targeting and transmigration of the mosquito salivary glands allows the identification of mosquito factors required for life cycle completion. Mature sporozoites appear to be equipped with the entire molecular repertoire for successful transmission and subsequent initiation of liver stage development. Innovative malaria intervention strategies that target the early, non-pathogenic phases of the life cycle will crucially depend on our insights into sporozoite biology and the underlying molecular mechanisms that lead the parasite from the mosquito midgut to the liver.

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