Unité de biologie des interactions hôte-parasite, URA CNRS 1960, Institut Pasteur, 25, rue du Dr-Roux, 75015 Paris.
The process of erythrocyte invasion by malarial merozoites is a crucial step of the parasite life cycle. Thus, and because malaria remains a major health concern in developping countries, the molecular determinants of the invasion process can be considered as promisssing vaccine and chemotherapeutic targets. The aim of this review is to update our current knowledge of the different steps of the erythrocyte invasion process by Plasmodium merozoites and their molecular basis. A special interest is taken in malaria species infecting humans and particularly Plasmodium falciparum which is responsible for the most severe malaria symptoms.