According to the World Health Organization, there were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria in 2017, resulting in the deaths of approximately 435,000 people. Infected mosquitoes transmit Plasmodium parasites to humans in the form of rod-shaped sporozoites that travel to the liver and invade liver cells (hepatocytes). Once inside these cells, the Plasmodium sporozoites develop into spherical exoerythrocytic forms (EEFs) that eventually give rise to thousands of merozoites capable of spreading into red blood cells and causing malaria.
"It seems likely that the transformation of Plasmodium sporozoites into EEFs is tightly controlled so that it only occurs in hepatocytes and not at earlier stages of the parasite's life cycle," says Masahiro Yamamoto, a professor at the Research Institute for Microbial Diseases of Osaka University. "However, we know very little about the host factors that regulate the differentiation of sporozoites in infected hepatocytes."
Study - Yamamoto - Colleagues - Hepatocyte - Protein
In the new study, Yamamoto and colleagues discovered that a hepatocyte protein called CXCR4 helps Plasmodium sporozoites transform into EEFs. Depleting...
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