Publications & Reports

The role of malaria parasite heat shock proteins in protein trafficking and remodelling of red blood cells.

Jonsdottir TK, Gabriela M, Gilson PR


The genus Plasmodium comprises intracellular eukaryotic parasites that infect many vertebrate groups and cause deadly malaria disease in humans. The parasites employ a suite of heat shock proteins to help traffic other proteins to different compartments within their own cells and that of the host cells they parasitise. This review will cover the role of these chaperones in protein export and host cell modification in the asexual blood stage of the human parasite P. falciparum which is the most deadly and well-studied parasite species. We will examine the role chaperones play in the import of proteins into the secretory pathway from where they are escorted to the vacuole space surrounding the intraerythrocytic parasite. Here, other heat shock proteins unfold protein cargoes and extrude them into the red blood cell (RBC) cytosol from where additional chaperones of parasite and possibly host origin refold the cargo proteins and guide them to their final functional destinations within their RBC host cells. The secretory pathway also serves as a launch pad for proteins targeted to the non-photosynthetic apicoplast organelle of endosymbiotic origin, and the role of heat shock proteins in trafficking proteins here will be reviewed. Finally, the function of chaperones in protein trafficking into the mitochondrion, the remaining organelle of endosymbiotic origin, will be discussed.

Link to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: Advances in Experminental Medicine and Biology
  • Published: 27/09/2021
  • Volume: 1340
  • Pagination: 141-167