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Malaria parasites consist of only a single cell, but they carry beneath their surface a complex system of membranes that is called the inner membrane complex (IMC).
This structure determines the shape of the parasite on one hand, and on the other it essentially contributes to its motility and enables it to invade our hepatocytes (liver cells) and erythrocytes (red blood cells). Although this membrane system has been known from microscopy for decades, its molecular components have not been studied in detail. We found that a far larger repertoire of proteins than presently known is embedded in these membranes, and that the same proteins take on different tasks, depending on the parasite`s developmental stage.
Maya Kono, Klemens Engelberg, Dipto Sinha, Tim Gilberger und externe Kooperationspartner (s. Publikation)