Maurer's clefts, the enigma of Plasmodium falciparum

Mundwiler-Pachlatko, Esther and Beck, Hans-Peter. (2013) Maurer's clefts, the enigma of Plasmodium falciparum. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 110, H. 50. pp. 19987-19994.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6211921

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Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of malaria, completely remodels the infected human erythrocyte to acquire nutrients and to evade the immune system. For this process, the parasite exports more than 10% of all its proteins into the host cell cytosol, including the major virulence factor PfEMP1 (P. falciparum erythrocyte surface protein 1). This unusual protein trafficking system involves long-known parasite-derived membranous structures in the host cell cytosol, called Maurer's clefts. However, the genesis, role, and function of Maurer's clefts remain elusive. Similarly unclear is how proteins are sorted and how they are transported to and from these structures. Recent years have seen a large increase of knowledge but, as yet, no functional model has been established. In this perspective we review the most important findings and conclude with potential possibilities to shed light into the enigma of Maurer's clefts. Understanding the mechanism and function of these structures, as well as their involvement in protein export in P. falciparum, might lead to innovative control strategies and might give us a handle with which to help to eliminate this deadly parasite.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
UniBasel Contributors:Beck, Hans-Peter
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:27 Feb 2014 15:45
Deposited On:27 Feb 2014 15:45

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