Xth EMOP, August 2008
Cellular and molecular interactions between the apicomplexan parasites Plasmodium and Theileria and their host cells
Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Bernhard-Nocht-Str 74, 20359 Hamburg, Germany
* Correspondence: Volker Heussler. Tel.: ++49 40 42 81 84 85 – Fax: ++49 40 42 81 85 12. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apicomplexan parasites of the genera Theileria and Plasmodium have complicated life cycles including infection of a vertebrate intermediate host and an arthropod definitive host. As the Plasmodium parasite progresses through its life cycle, it enters a number of different cell types, both in its mammalian and mosquito hosts. The fate of these cells varies greatly, as do the parasite and host molecules involved in parasite-host interactions. In mammals, Plasmodium parasites infect hepatocytes and erythrocytes whereas Theileria infects ruminant leukocytes and erythrocytes. Survival of Plasmodium-infected hepatocytes and Theileria-infected leukocytes depends on parasite-mediated inhibition of host cell apoptosis but only Theileria-infected cells exhibit a fully transformed phenotype. As the development of both parasites progresses towards the merozoite stage, the parasites no longer promote the survival of the host cell and the infected cell is finally destroyed to release merozoites. In this review we describe similarities and differences of parasite-host cell interactions in Plasmodium-infected hepatocytes and Theileria-infected leukocytes and compare the observed phenotypes to other parasite stages interacting with host cells.
Key words: Plasmodium / Theileria / apoptosis / signal transduction / host cell transformation
© PRINCEPS Editions, Paris, 2008, transferred to Société Française de Parasitologie