The Black Box of Cellular and Molecular Events of Plasmodium vivax Merozoite Invasion into Reticulocytes
Artículo de revista
Plasmodium vivax is the most widely distributed malaria parasite affecting humans worldwide, causing ~5 million cases yearly. Despite the disease’s extensive burden, there are gaps in the knowledge of the pathophysiological mechanisms by which P. vivax invades reticulocytes. In contrast, this crucial step is better understood for P. falciparum, the less widely distributed but more often fatal malaria parasite. This discrepancy is due to the difficulty of studying P. vivax’s exclusive invasion of reticulocytes, which represent 1–2% of circulating cells. Its accurate targeting mechanism has not yet been clarified, hindering the establishment of long-term continuous in vitro culture systems. So far, only three reticulocyte invasion pathways have been characterised based on parasite interactions with DARC, TfR1 and CD98 host proteins. However, exposing the parasite’s alternative invasion mechanisms is currently being considered, opening up a large field for exploring the entry receptors used by P. vivax for invading host cells. New methods must be developed to ensure better understanding of the parasite to control malarial transmission and to eradicate the disease. Here, we review the current state of knowledge on cellular and molecular mechanisms of P. vivax’s merozoite invasion to contribute to a better understanding of the parasite’s biology, pathogenesis and epidemiology.