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_4713-1

The invasive and motile stages of apicomplexan protozoans (e.g., merozoites, sporozoites, bradyzoites, tachyzoites, cystozoites, zoites, kinetes) of genera such as Plasmodium, Toxoplasma, Sarcocystis, Eimeria, Isospora, Babesia, Theileria, etc., possess a characteristic cortical structure termed pellicle, which is characterized by an inner double layered membrane complex (IMC) underneath the typical plasma membrane. This inner membrane complex (IMC) is supported by cytoskeletal structures called subpellicular network (SPN). The latter is composed by a series of intermediate filaments, whose major components of constituents include a protein family called alveolins. In Plasmodium species, 13 family members of these proteins have been identified belonging to domain types that – albeit distinct at the primary structure level – are structurally similar, containing tandem repeats with a minimum 12 amino acid periodicity.


Protein Family Tandem Repeat Primary Structure Intermediate Filament Structure Level 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Further Reading

  1. Dessens J et al (2015) Plasmodium alveolins possess distinct, but structurally and functionally multirepeat domains. Parasitol Res 114:631–639Google Scholar
  2. Gould SB et al (2008) Alveolins, a new family of cortical proteins that define the protist infrakingdom Alveolata. Mol Biol Evol 25:1219–1230CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Kono M et al (2012) Evolution and architecture of the inner membrane complex in asexual and sexual stages of the malaria parasite. Mol Biol Evol 29:2113–2132CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Santos JM et al (2009) Apicomplexan cystoskeleton and motors. Int J Parasitol 39:153–162CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Tremp AZ et al (2014) Distinct temporal recruitment of Plasmodium alveolins to the subpellicular network. Parasitol Res 113:4177–4188Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

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