Malaria parasite development in the mosquito and infection of the mammalian host

Annu Rev Microbiol. 2009:63:195-221. doi: 10.1146/annurev.micro.091208.073403.


Plasmodium sporozoites are the product of a complex developmental process in the mosquito vector and are destined to infect the mammalian liver. Attention has been drawn to the mosquito stages and pre-erythrocytic stages owing to recognition that these are bottlenecks in the parasite life cycle and that intervention at these stages can block transmission and prevent infection. Parasite progression in the Anopheles mosquito, sporozoite transmission to the mammalian host by mosquito bite, and subsequent infection of the liver are characterized by extensive migration of invasive stages, cell invasion, and developmental changes. Preparation for the liver phase in the mammalian host begins in the mosquito with an extensive reprogramming of the sporozoite to support efficient infection and survival. Here, we discuss what is known about the molecular and cellular basis of the developmental progression of parasites and their interactions with host tissues in the mosquito and during the early phase of mammalian infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anopheles / parasitology*
  • Humans
  • Malaria / parasitology*
  • Plasmodium / growth & development*
  • Plasmodium / pathogenicity*