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Cell Microbiol. 2009 Aug;11(8):1272-88. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2009.01331.x. Epub 2009 Apr 30.

Egress of Plasmodium berghei gametes from their host erythrocyte is mediated by the MDV-1/PEG3 protein.

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Dipartimento di Malattie Infettive, Parassitarie e Immunomediate, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.


Malaria parasites invade erythrocytes of their host both for asexual multiplication and for differentiation to male and female gametocytes - the precursor cells of Plasmodium gametes. For further development the parasite is dependent on efficient release of the asexual daughter cells and of the gametes from the host erythrocyte. How malarial parasites exit their host cells remains largely unknown. We here report the characterization of a Plasmodium berghei protein that is involved in egress of both male and female gametes from the host erythrocyte. Protein MDV-1/PEG3, like its Plasmodium falciparum orthologue, is present in gametocytes of both sexes, but more abundant in the female, where it is associated with dense granular organelles, the osmiophilic bodies. Deltamdv-1/peg3 parasites in which MDV-1/PEG3 production was abolished by gene disruption had a strongly reduced capacity to form zygotes resulting from a reduced capability of both the male and female gametes to disrupt the surrounding parasitophorous vacuole and to egress from the host erythrocyte. These data demonstrate that emergence from the host cell of male and female gametes relies on a common, MDV-1/PEG3-dependent mechanism that is distinct from mechanisms used by asexual parasites.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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