A Membrane Network for Nutrient Import in Red Cells Infected with the Malaria Parasite

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Science  16 May 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5315, pp. 1122-1125
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5315.1122

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The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum exports an interconnected network of tubovesicular membranes (the TVM) that extends from the parasite’s vacuolar membrane to the periphery of the red cell. Here it is shown that extracellular solutes such as Lucifer yellow enter the TVM and are delivered to the parasite. Blocking the assembly of the network blocked the delivery of exogenous Lucifer yellow, nucleosides, and amino acids to the parasite without inhibiting secretion of plasmodial proteins. These data suggest that the TVM is a transport network that allows nutrients efficient access to the parasite and could be used to deliver antimalarial drugs directly into the parasite.

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