Malaria parasites live within erythrocytes in the host bloodstream and induce crucial changes to these cells. By so doing, they can obtain the nutrients that they require for growth and can effect the evasion and perturbation of host defences. In order to accomplish this extensive host cell remodelling, the intracellular parasite exports hundreds of proteins to commandeer the erythrocyte for its own purposes. An export motif, a processing enzyme that specifies protein targeting and a translocon that mediates the export of proteins from the parasite into the host erythrocyte have been identified. However, important questions remain regarding the secretory pathway and the function of the translocon. In addition, this export pathway provides potentially useful targets for the development of inhibitors to interfere with functions that are vital for the virulence and survival programmes of the parasite.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-621
Number of pages5
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010


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