Protein export into malaria parasite-infected erythrocytes: Mechanisms and functional consequences

Natalie J. Spillman, Josh R. Beck, Daniel E. Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Phylum Apicomplexa comprises a large group of obligate intracellular parasites of high medical and veterinary importance. These organisms succeed intracellularly by effecting remarkable changes in a broad range of diverse host cells. The transformation of the host erythrocyte is particularly striking in the case of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. P. falciparum exports hundreds of proteins that mediate a complex cellular renovation marked by changes in the permeability, rigidity, and cytoadherence properties of the host erythrocyte. The past decade has seen enormous progress in understanding the identity and function of these exported effectors, as well as the mechanisms by which they are trafficked into the host cell. Here we review these advances, place them in the context of host manipulation by related apicomplexans, and propose key directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-841
Number of pages29
JournalAnnual review of biochemistry
StatePublished - Jun 2 2015


  • Apicomplexa
  • Cytoadherence
  • Cytoskeleton
  • PTEX
  • Plasmodium
  • Protein trafficking


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