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Plasmodium parasite proteins and the infected erythrocyte.
Erythrocyte modification by malaria proteins is linked to both disease severity and infection. In this issue of Trends in Parasitology, Templeton and Deitsch, and Horrocks and Muhia discuss recent work identifying a host-targeting (HT) signal on malaria proteins. This signal predicts a secretome of 300-400 effectors for the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, vastly expanding the number of potential vaccine and drug targets. The HT signal seems to be distinct from known cellular transport signals, which suggests that it might be a novel eukaryotic secretion signal.