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J Cell Biol. 1988 May;106(5):1507-13.

Secretion of Plasmodium falciparum rhoptry protein into the plasma membrane of host erythrocytes.

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Laboratory of Biochemical Cytology, Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10021.


The rhoptry is an organelle of the malarial merozoite which has been suggested to play a role in parasite invasion of its host cell, the erythrocyte. A monoclonal antibody selected for reactivity with this organelle identifies a parasite synthesized protein of 110 kD. From biosynthetic labeling experiments it was demonstrated that the protein is synthesized midway through the erythrocytic cycle (the trophozoite stage) but immunofluorescence indicates the protein is not localized in the organelle until the final stage (segmenter stage) of intraerythrocytic development. Immunoelectron microscopy shows that the protein is localized in the matrix of the rhoptry organelle and on membranous whorls secreted from the merozoite. mAb recognition of the protein is dithiothreitol (DTT) labile, indicating that the conformation of the epitope is dependent on a disulfide linkage. During erythrocyte reinvasion by the extracellular merozoite, immunofluorescence shows the rhoptry protein discharging from the merozoite and spreading around the surface of the erythrocyte. The protein is located in the plasma membrane of the newly invaded erythrocyte. These studies suggest that the 110-kD rhoptry protein is inserted into the membrane of the host erythrocyte during merozoite invasion.

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