Translational repression of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) plays an important role in sexual differentiation and gametogenesis in multicellular eukaryotes. Translational repression and mRNA turnover were shown to influence stage-specific gene expression in the protozoan Plasmodium. The DDX6-class RNA helicase, DOZI (development of zygote inhibited), is found in a complex with mRNA species in cytoplasmic bodies of female, blood-stage gametocytes. These translationally repressed complexes are normally stored for translation after fertilization. Genetic disruption of pbdozi inhibits the formation of the ribonucleoprotein complexes, and instead, at least 370 transcripts are diverted to a degradation pathway.