Targeting Malaria Virulence and Remodeling Proteins to the Host Erythrocyte

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Science  10 Dec 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5703, pp. 1930-1933
DOI: 10.1126/science.1102452

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To establish infection in the host, malaria parasites export remodeling and virulence proteins into the erythrocyte. These proteins can traverse a series of membranes, including the parasite membrane, the parasitophorous vacuole membrane, and the erythrocyte membrane. We show that a conserved pentameric sequence plays a central role in protein export into the host cell and predict the exported proteome in Plasmodium falciparum. We identified 400 putative erythrocyte-targeted proteins corresponding to ∼8% of all predicted genes, with 225 virulence proteins and a further 160 proteins likely to be involved in remodeling of the host erythrocyte. The conservation of this signal across Plasmodium species has implications for the development of new antimalarials.

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