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Protein export in malaria parasites: an update.

Elsworth B, Crabb BS, Gilson PR

  • Journal Cellular microbiology

  • Published 27 Jan 2014

  • Volume 16

  • ISSUE 3

  • Pagination 355-63

  • DOI 10.1111/cmi.12261


Symptomatic malaria is caused by the infection of human red blood cells (RBCs) with Plasmodium parasites. The RBC is a peculiar environment for parasites to thrive in as they lack many of the normal cellular processes and resources present in other cells. Because of this, Plasmodium spp. have adapted to extensively remodel the host cell through the export of hundreds of proteins that have a range of functions, the best known of which are virulence-associated. Many exported parasite proteins are themselves involved in generating a novel trafficking system in the RBC that further promotes export. In this review we provide an overview of the parasite synthesized export machinery as well as recent developments in how different classes of exported proteins are recognized by this machinery.