Plasmodium sporozoite molecular cell biology

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2004;20:29-59. doi: 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.20.011603.150935.


Plasmodium sporozoites display complex phenotypes including gliding motility and invasion of and transmigration through cells in the mosquito vector and the vertebrate host. Sporozoite studies have been difficult to perform because of technical concerns. Nevertheless, they have already provided insights into several aspects of sporozoite biology, shared in part with other apicomplexan invasive stages. Structure/function analysis of the thrombospondin-related anonymous protein paved the way to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of apicomplexan gliding motility and host cell invasion. Functional studies of circumsporozoite protein revealed its role in Plasmodium sporozoite morphogenesis in addition to its well-known function in host cell invasion. Transcriptional surveys, which facilitate the investigation of gene expression programs that control sporozoite phenotypes, have revealed a high degree of previously unappreciated complexity and novel proteins that mediate sporozoite host cell infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Culicidae / parasitology
  • Hepatocytes / parasitology
  • Oocysts / metabolism
  • Plasmodium / genetics*
  • Plasmodium / growth & development
  • Plasmodium / pathogenicity*
  • Salivary Glands / parasitology
  • Sporozoites / cytology
  • Sporozoites / genetics
  • Sporozoites / pathogenicity