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Cell Microbiol. 2011 Nov;13(11):1768-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2011.01657.x. Epub 2011 Aug 31.

Organelle segregation into Plasmodium liver stage merozoites.

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1
Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Bernhard-Nocht-Str. 74, 20359 Hamburg, Germany. stanway@izb.unibe.ch

Abstract

The liver stage of the Plasmodium parasite remains one of the most promising targets for intervention against malaria as it is clinically silent, precedes the symptomatic blood stage and represents a bottleneck in the parasite life cycle. However, many aspects of the development of the parasite during this stage are far from understood. During the liver stage, the parasite undergoes extensive replication, forming tens of thousands of infectious merozoites from each invading sporozoite. This implies a very efficient and accurate process of cytokinesis and thus also of organelle development and segregation. We have generated for the first time Plasmodium berghei double-fluorescent parasite lines, allowing visualization of the apicoplast, mitochondria and nuclei in live liver stage parasites. Using these we have seen that in parallel with nuclear division, the apicoplast and mitochondrion become two extensively branched and intertwining structures. The organelles then undergo impressive morphological and positional changes prior to cell division. To form merozoites, the parasite undergoes cytokinesis and the complex process of organelle development and segregation into the forming daughter merozoites could be analysed in detail using the newly generated transgenic parasites.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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