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Trends Parasitol. 2008 Dec;24(12):564-9. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2008 Oct 17.

Plasmodium pre-erythrocytic stages: what's new?

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Institut Pasteur, Unité de Biologie et Génétique du Paludisme, 75724 Paris cedex 15, France.


The pre-erythrocytic (PE) phase of malaria infection, which extends from injection of sporozoites into the skin to the release of the first generation of merozoites, has traditionally been the 'black box' of the Plasmodium life cycle. However, since the advent of parasite transfection technology 13 years ago, our understanding of the PE phase in cellular and molecular terms has dramatically improved. Here, we review and comment on the major developments in the field in the past five years. Progress has been made in many diverse areas, including identifying and characterizing new proteins of interest, imaging parasites in vivo, understanding better the cell biology of hepatocyte infection and developing new vaccines against PE stages of the parasite.

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