The cytoplasmic domains of stage-specific parasite adhesion proteins are interchangeable
Plasmodium falciparum causes the most severe form of human malaria and is responsible for up to two million deaths a year. Successful parasite invasion of target cells requires binding of Plasmodium proteins to host receptors followed by the use of translocation machinery to drive the parasite into the cell. This two-step process is mediated by stage-specific parasite adhesion proteins; sporozoites invade liver cells, and merozoites invade erythrocytes. The extracellular adhesion domains of these proteins are well characterized, but it has been less clear how the cytoplasmic domains contribute to Plasmodium–host invasion. In the July 21 Journal of Cell Biology, Tim-Wolf Gilberger and colleagues at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research examined the function of the cytoplasmic domain of one such protein and identified a link between the intracellular translocation machinery at different stages of the Plasmodium life cycle and host invasion (Journal of Cell Biology...
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