Identification of Blood-Stage Invasins of Plasmodium falciparum Through Transcriptomics
Malaria is one of the leading parasitic disease in the world, despite enormous efforts to control or eradicate it. Plasmodium falciparum causes the most severe form of malaria and is responsible for most global disease mortality. Erythrocyte invasion by P. falciparum is the most fundamental step in the blood-stage life cycle of the parasite and is mediated by a series of sequential events incorporating multiple molecular interactions between parasite and erythrocyte surface proteins. The clinical symptoms of P. falciparum malaria are attributed to the cycles of asexual reproduction within the human erythrocytes. Understanding this complex process of invasion is extremely essential for gaining insight into the basic parasite biology which would enable the identification of novel drug targets and vaccine candidates that would efficiently block erythrocyte invasion. Advances in genome wide transcriptomic studies have provided us the information about the temporal expression of cohort of genes involved in the invasion process. The availability of this information has been pivotal in the effort towards identification, characterization and functional assessment of novel antigens which have a specific role in invasion. This review aims to summarize the invasins that have been identified and characterized in the post genomics era utilizing the information available through P. falciparum transcriptome databases.