Encyclopedia of Parasitology

Living Edition
| Editors: Heinz Mehlhorn


  • Heinz Mehlhorn
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27769-6_242-2
This term describes an ovoid organelle that is found just prior to the anterior end of the nucleus of motile stages of Apicomplexa (Sporozoa) such as merozoites, sporozoites, tachyzoites, bradyzoites, cystozoites, etc. In early times of electron microscopy, it was described as thick walled vesicle with an unknown function in stages of e.g., Toxoplasma gondii , Sarcocystis species, Eimeria species, Isospora species, Plasmodium species, etc. Today, high-resolution electron microscopy shows that this organelle possesses four membranes, which apparently originate from a penetrated red algal (prokaryotic) organism being “parasitized” by a chloroplast which formerly had also been a separate organism (Fig. 1). Finally, this red algae was engulfed by an autotrophic protist, the progeny of which later developed by coevolution into the parasite species of our days.


Walled Vesicle Parasite Species Cell Stage Nuclear Division Plasmodium Species 
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Further Reading

  1. Deponte M et al (2012) Wherever I may room: protein and membrane trafficking in P. falciparum-infected red blood cell. Mol Biochem Parasitol 186:95–116CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Hackstein JH, Mackenstedt U, Mehlhorn H et al (1995) Parasitic apicomplexans harbor a chlorophyll a-D1 complex, the potential target for therapeutic triazines. Parasitol Res 81:207–216PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Lindner I et al (2013) Trafficked proteins – druggable in Plasmodium falciparum. Int I Cell Biol 213, 435981Google Scholar
  4. McFadden GI, Van Dooren GG (2004) Avolution: red algal genome affirms a common origin of all plastids. Curr Biol 14:R514–R516CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Van Dooren GG, Striepen B (2013) The algal past and parasite present of the apicoplast. Rev Adv Annu Rev Microbiol 67:67–71Google Scholar
  6. Wilson I (1993) Plastids better red than dead. Nature 366:638–639CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Zoomorphologie, Zellbiologie und ParasitologieHeinrich-Heine-UniversitätDüsseldorfGermany