Malaria and the erythrocyte

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In terms of global health, the most important disease involving human erythrocytes is infection by protozoan parasites of the genus Plasmodium, particularly Plasmodium falciparum. Our understanding of the complex processes of erythrocyte invasion, remodeling, and cytoadherence has advanced considerably over the past few years. Considerable advances have been made in identifying the players in each of these phenomena, although identification of the exact functional roles for many molecules is still missing. The cloning of the parasite adhesin, the development of a transfection system, and a series of new imaging and cell biology assays are recent achievements that promise to further our understanding not only of the pathogenesis of malaria, but also the functioning of erythrocytes.

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