Plasmodium nesting: remaking the erythrocyte from the inside out

Annu Rev Microbiol. 2013;67:243-69. doi: 10.1146/annurev-micro-092412-155730. Epub 2013 Jun 26.


One of the most fascinating and remarkable features of Plasmodium parasites, which cause malaria, is their choice of erythrocytes as the principal host cells in which to reside during infection of a vertebrate host. Parasites completely renovate the terminally differentiated cells, which lack most of the normal organelles and functions of other cells, such as a nucleus and the machinery to express and transport proteins to subcellular locations. Erythrocyte remodeling begins immediately after invasion by the Plasmodium parasite, by expression and export of many hundreds of proteins that assemble into molecular machinery in the host cell that permit protein trafficking, harvesting of nutrients, and mechanisms to evade host immune responses. In this review, we discuss recent studies on erythrocyte remodeling, including mechanisms of protein export as well as the identity, functions, and subcellular locations of key exported proteins.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology*
  • Humans
  • Malaria / parasitology*
  • Plasmodium / genetics
  • Plasmodium / metabolism*
  • Protein Transport
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism*


  • Protozoan Proteins