Johns Hopkins University
Plasmodium species, among them the causative agents of malaria, are obligate intracellular protozoan parasites.
They rely on an unusual form of substrate-dependent motility for their migration on and across host-cell membranes and for host cell invasion.
Gliding and active host cell invasion are thus crucial for these organisms, and are facilitated through an actin/myosin motor complex located beneath the parasite’s plasma membrane.
The motor complex when inhibited by small molecules would stall the invasion process and thereby block progression of the disease.