Generation of red blood cells from stem cells: Achievements, opportunities and perspectives for malaria research

Timothy Satchwell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
88 Downloads (Pure)


Parasites of the genus Plasmodium that cause malaria survive within humans by invasion of, and proliferation within, the most abundant cell type in the body, the red blood cell. As obligate, intracellular parasites, interactions between parasite and host red blood cell components are crucial to multiple aspects of the blood stage malaria parasite lifecycle. The requirement for, and involvement of, an array of red blood cell proteins in parasite invasion and intracellular development is well established. Nevertheless, detailed mechanistic understanding of host cell protein contributions to these processes are hampered by the genetic intractability of the anucleate red blood cell. The advent of stem cell technology and more specifically development of methods that recapitulate in vitro the process of red blood cell development known as erythropoiesis has enabled the generation of erythroid cell stages previously inaccessible in large numbers for malaria studies. What is more, the capacity for genetic manipulation of nucleated erythroid precursors that can be differentiated to generate modified red blood cells has opened new horizons for malaria research. This review summarises current methodologies that harness in vitro erythroid differentiation of stem cells for generation of cells that are susceptible to malaria parasite invasion; discusses existing and emerging approaches to generate novel red blood cell phenotypes and explores the exciting potential of in vitro derived red blood cells for improved understanding the broad role of host red blood cell proteins in malaria pathogenesis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1039520
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
TJS was supported by the UK Medical Research Council Grant ID. MR/V010506/1.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Satchwell.


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