Malaria sporozoites leave behind trails of circumsporozoite protein during gliding motility

J Protozool. 1988 Aug;35(3):389-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.1988.tb04115.x.


As Plasmodium sporozoites undergo gliding motility in vitro, they leave behind trails of circumsporozoite (CS) protein that correspond to their patterns of movement. This light microscopic observation was made using Plasmodium berghei sporozoites, a monoclonal antibody (MAb H4) directed against the immunodominant repetitive epitope of the CS protein of P. berghei, and an immunogold-silver staining (IGSS) technique. Sporozoites pretreated with agents that inhibit sporozoite motility and invasiveness did not produce trails. Sporozoites that glided on microscope slides coated with MAb H4 left behind considerably longer CS protein trails than those on uncoated slides, and the staining of these trails was more intense. The fact that the CS protein is an exoantigen continuously released as trails by motile sporozoites, together with our previous finding that anti-CS protein antibodies inhibit sporozoite motility, strongly suggests that the CS protein plays a role in gliding motility. The sensitive IGSS technique used in this study may be a useful tool in the study of the translocation of surface proteins during gliding of other apicomplexans, other protists, and bacteria.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Surface / analysis
  • Antigens, Surface / metabolism*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Movement
  • Plasmodium berghei / physiology*
  • Protozoan Proteins*


  • Antigens, Surface
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • circumsporozoite protein, Protozoan