The elusive malaria sporozoite in the mammalian host



Malaria infection is initiated when Plasmodium sporozoites are injected into a host during the bite of an infected mosquito. In the mammal, the sporozoite must rapidly reach an intravacuolar niche within a hepatocyte, where it will generate the parasite stage that invades red blood cells and causes the symptoms of the disease. Herein, we describe our understanding of the way in which sporozoites travel from the site of the mosquito bite to the liver, arrest in the liver, cross the sinusoidal barrier and eventually gain access to hepatocytes. We also highlight some of the recent advances in our understanding of these processes at the molecular level.