Hijacking of the host cell Golgi by Plasmodium berghei liver stage parasites

Mariana de Niz, Reto Caldelari, Gesine Kaiser, Benoit Zuber, Won Do Heo, Volker T. Heussler, Carolina Agop-Nersesian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The intracellular lifestyle represents a challenge for the rapidly proliferating liver stage Plasmodium parasite. In order to scavenge host resources, Plasmodium has evolved the ability to target and manipulate host cell organelles. Using dynamic fluorescence-based imaging, we here show an interplay between the pre-erythrocytic stages of Plasmodium berghei and the host cell Golgi during liver stage development. Liver stage schizonts fragment the host cell Golgi into miniaturized stacks, which increases surface interactions with the parasitophorous vacuolar membrane of the parasite. Expression of specific dominant-negative Arf1 and Rab GTPases, which interfere with the host cell Golgi-linked vesicular machinery, results in developmental delay and diminished survival of liver stage parasites. Moreover, functional Rab11a is critical for the ability of the parasites to induce Golgi fragmentation. Altogether, we demonstrate that the structural integrity of the host cell Golgi and Golgi-associated vesicular traffic is important for optimal pre-erythrocytic development of P. berghei. The parasite hijacks the Golgi structure of the hepatocyte to optimize its own intracellular development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberjcs252213
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Golgi-associated vesicular traffic
  • Host cell Golgi
  • Host-parasite interaction
  • Organelle hijacking
  • Plasmodium liver-stages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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