Insights into the early liver stage biology of Plasmodium.
Even though malaria is preventable and curable, it has become a serious threat to mankind. In 2016, there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria across the world. The biology of its causative agent, i.e. Plasmodium parasite is full of complex mechanisms. There are five Plasmodium species responsible for malaria in humans, viz. Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae, P. ovale and recently identified P. knowlesi that normally infect apes. In humans, malaria is spread by the injection of Plasmodium sporozoites through the bite of infectious Anopheles' female mosquito during their blood meal. From the time of entry into human skin till the development into the asexual forms, the parasite undergoes several transformations. This review attempts to understand the science behind the pre-erythrocytic liver stage of Plasmodium. Research articles explaining parasite biology, cell-traversal, transformation stages, cell-egress process, etc. were retrieved from PubMed and google scholar database. Various known and unknown mechanisms and strategies used by the malaria parasite P. berghei in rodent models have been discussed in this review. Limited or no information was available for humans, due to technical feasibility and complexity of parasite's life cycle. Hence, it was concluded that there is an urgent need to investigate the hepatic invasion, traversal and egress mechanism of P. falciparum and P. vivax for developing novel therapeutics to fight against malaria.