Plasmodium falciparum is the causative organism for the most severe form of malaria among humans. The clinical symptoms are accredited to the asexual stage of parasite life cycle, involving merozoite invasion of erythrocyte, development and re-invasion into the new erythrocyte. Interaction of parasite proteins present on the surface or secreted from apical organelles with the host receptors is indispensable for the invasion process. Identification and elucidation of precise localization and function of these proteins will not only enhance our understanding of this process but will also aid in the progress of development of treatment strategies against malaria. Here we report the identification and localization of a novel protein, PfAEP (P. falciparum Apical Exonemal Protein) (PF3D7_1137200/ PF11_0383) which is conserved across Plasmodium species. Transcription and translation analysis have confirmed its expression in the schizont stage of P. falciparum. Super-resolution microscopy in schizonts and merozoites revealed its localization in the exonemes of P. falciparum.
Keywords: Exoneme; Invasin; Invasion; Plasmodium falciparum.
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