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Apicomplexan parasites are unicellular eukaryotes that invade the cells in which they proliferate. The development of genetic tools in Toxoplasma, and then in Plasmodium, in the 1990s allowed the first description of the molecular machinery used for motility and invasion, revealing a crucial role for two different secretory organelles, micronemes and rhoptries. Rhoptry proteins are injected directly into the host cytoplasm not only to promote invasion but also to manipulate host functions. Nonetheless, the injection machinery has remained mysterious, a major conundrum in the field. Here we review recent progress in uncovering structural components and proteins implicated in rhoptry exocytosis and explain how revisiting early findings and considering the evolutionary origins of Apicomplexa contributed to some of these discoveries. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Daniela Sparvoli, Maryse Lebrun. Unraveling the Elusive Rhoptry Exocytic Mechanism of Apicomplexa. Trends in parasitology. 2021 Jul;37(7):622-637

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PMID: 34045149

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