Static and dynamic imaging of erythrocyte invasion and early intra-erythrocytic development in Plasmodium falciparum

Methods Mol Biol. 2013;923:269-80. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-026-7_18.


Cellular imaging has reemerged in recent years as a powerful approach to provide researchers with a direct measure of essential molecular events in a cell's life, ranging in scale from broad morphological observations of whole cells to intricate single molecule imaging. When combined with quantitative image analysis, the available imaging techniques can act as a critical means to confirm hypotheses, drive the formation of new theories or provide accurate determination of protein localization at subcellular and nanometer scales. Here, we describe two methodological approaches for imaging the transient step of malaria parasite invasion of the human erythrocyte. When applied to image the most virulent human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, the first approach, using live time-lapse wide-field microscopy, allows the capture of transient events during invasion and postinvasion intra-erythrocytic development, while the second, using immunofluorescence assay (IFA) of fixed samples, allows high-definition exploration of parasite architecture on multiple platforms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology*
  • Erythrocytes / pathology
  • Humans
  • Life Cycle Stages
  • Malaria, Falciparum / diagnosis
  • Malaria, Falciparum / parasitology
  • Merozoites / cytology
  • Merozoites / growth & development
  • Microscopy / methods*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / cytology
  • Plasmodium falciparum / growth & development*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / isolation & purification