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Cell Microbiol. 2019 Jan 17:e13009. doi: 10.1111/cmi.13009. [Epub ahead of print]

Illuminating how malaria parasites export proteins into host erythrocytes.

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School of Medicine, Deakin University, Waurn Ponds, Victoria, Australia.


Plasmodium parasites that cause the disease malaria have developed an elaborate trafficking pathway to facilitate the export of hundreds of effector proteins into their host cell, the erythrocyte. In this review, we outline how certain effector proteins contribute to parasite survival, virulence, and immune evasion. We also highlight how parasite proteins destined for export are recognised at the endoplasmic reticulum to facilitate entry into the export pathway and how the effector proteins are able to transverse the bounding parasitophorous vaculoar membrane via the Plasmodium translocon of exported proteins to gain access to the host cell. Some of the gaps in our understanding of the export pathway are also presented. Finally, we examine the degree of conservation of some of the key components of the Plasmodium export pathway in closely related apicomplexan parasites, which may provide insight into how the diverse apicomplexan parasites have adapted to survival pressures encountered within their respective host cells.


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