The glideosome: a molecular machine powering motility and host-cell invasion by Apicomplexa

Trends Cell Biol. 2004 Oct;14(10):528-32. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2004.08.002.


The apicomplexans are obligate intracellular protozoan parasites that rely on gliding motility for their migration across biological barriers and for host-cell invasion and egress. This unusual form of substrate-dependent motility is powered by the "glideosome", a macromolecular complex consisting of adhesive proteins that are released apically and translocated to the posterior pole of the parasite by the action of an actomyosin system anchored in the inner membrane complex of the parasite. Recent studies have revealed new insights into the composition and biogenesis of Toxoplasma gondii myosin-A motor complex and have identified an exciting set of small molecules that can interfere with different aspects of glideosome function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apicomplexa / cytology*
  • Apicomplexa / physiology*
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions / physiology
  • Humans
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / physiology*


  • Molecular Motor Proteins