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Intracellular calcium levels in the Plasmodium berghei ookinete

  • I. SIDÉN-KIAMOS (a1) and C. LOUIS (a1) (a2)


Ookinetes are the motile and invasive stages of Plasmodium parasites in the mosquito host. Here we explore the role of intracellular Ca2+ in ookinete survival and motility as well as in the formation of oocysts in vitro in the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei. Treatment with the Ca2+ ionophore A23187 induced death of the parasite, an effect that could be prevented if the ookinetes were co-incubated with insect cells before incubation with the ionophore. Treatment with the intracellular calcium chelator BAPTA/AM resulted in increased formation of oocysts in vitro. Calcium imaging in the ookinete using fluorescent calcium indicators revealed that the purified ookinetes have an intracellular calcium concentration in the range of 100 nm. Intracellular calcium levels decreased substantially when the ookinetes were incubated with insect cells and their motility was concomitantly increased. Our results suggest a pleiotropic role for intracellular calcium in the ookinete.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas, N. Plastiras 110, Vassilika Vouton, 700 13 Heraklion, Crete, Greece. Tel: +30 2810391118. Fax: +30 2810391104. E-mail:


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Intracellular calcium levels in the Plasmodium berghei ookinete

  • I. SIDÉN-KIAMOS (a1) and C. LOUIS (a1) (a2)


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