Understanding the complex process by which the invasive form of the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, the merozoite, attaches to and invades erythrocytes as part of its blood stage life cycle represents a key area of research in the battle to combat malaria. Central to this are efforts to determine the identity of receptors on the host cell surface, their corresponding merozoite-binding proteins and the functional relevance of these binding events as part of the invasion process. This review will provide an updated summary of studies identifying receptor interactions essential for or implicated in P. falciparum merozoite invasion of human erythrocytes, highlighting the recent identification of new receptors using groundbreaking high throughput approaches and with particular focus on the properties and putative involvement of the erythrocyte proteins targeted by these invasion pathways.
- membrane protein
- red blood cell