Journal article

Plasmodium falciparum goes bananas for sex

Matthew WA Dixon, Leann Tilley

MOLECULAR AND BIOCHEMICAL PARASITOLOGY | ELSEVIER | Published : 2021

Abstract

The sexual blood stages of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum undergo a remarkable transformation from a roughly spherical shape to an elongated crescent or "falciform" morphology from which the species gets its name. In this review, the molecular events that drive this spectacular shape change are discussed and some questions that remain regarding the mechanistic underpinnings are posed. We speculate on the role of the shape changes in promoting sequestration and release of the developing gametocyte, thereby facilitating parasite survival in the host and underpinning transmission to the mosquito vector.