Host-Pathogen Interactions

Built to Invade

Science Signaling  26 Jul 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 183, pp. ec209
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.4183ec209

Apicomplexan parasites cause diseases that include malaria and toxoplasmosis. Key to invasion is a moving junction (MJ) complex that links the parasite and host cell membranes. Two key proteins in this complex are both provided by the parasite—the receptor, RON2, which integrates into the host cell membrane, and its ligand, apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1). Tonkin et al. (see the Perspective by Baum and Cowman) have determined the crystal structure of RON2 bound to AMA1. The complex has an extensive buried surface area that probably enables the MJ complex to resist the mechanical forces of host cell invasion.

M. L. Tonkin, M. Roques, M. H. Lamarque, M. Pugnière, D. Douguet, J. Crawford, M. Lebrun, M. J. Boulanger, Host cell invasion by apicomplexan parasites: Insights from the co-structure of AMA1 with a RON2 peptide. Science 333, 463–467 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]

J. Baum, A. F. Cowman, Revealing a parasite's invasive trick. Science 333, 410–411 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]