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The Company of Biologists, Biology Open, 1(3), p. 103-107

DOI: 10.1242/bio.20136833



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Stress granules and Plasmodium liver stage infection

Journal article published in 2013 by Kirsten K. Hanson, Gunnar R. Mair ORCID
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Organisms have evolved numerous strategies to control infection by an array of intracellular pathogens. One cell autonomous pathogen control strategy is global inhibition of protein synthesis via stress granule (SG) formation. SGs are induced by stressful stimuli such as oxidative stress and nutrient deprivation, and are known to counteract both viral and bacterial infections. Pathogens, in turn, may actively block an infected cell's ability to form SGs. In vitro and in vivo, many liver stage malaria parasites are eliminated during development. We show here that SG formation is not amongst the strategies used for elimination of parasites from hepatocytes. Neither cell traversal, sporozoite invasion, nor rapid parasite growth leads to the formation of SGs. Furthermore, Plasmodium berghei infection does not compromise the ability of infected cells to assemble SGs in response to oxidative or nutritional stress. Plasmodium infection is therefore not detected by hepatocytes as a strong stressor necessitating global translational repression in response, highlighting the idea that Plasmodium has evolved strategies to ensure its remarkable growth in the hepatocyte while maintaining host cell homeostasis.