Volume 87, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Invasion of the mosquito midgut by the ookinete determines the success of transmission of malaria parasites from humans to mosquitoes and therefore, is a potential target for molecular intervention. Here, we show higher-resolution ultrastructural details of developing and mature ookinetes than previously available. Improved fixation and processing methods yielded substantially improved transmission electron micrographs of ookinetes, particularly with regard to visualization of subcellular secretory and other organelles. These new images provide new insights into the synthesis and function of vital invasive machinery focused on the following features: apical membrane protrusions presumptively used for attachment and protein secretion, dark spherical bodies at the apical end of the mature ookinete, and the presence of a dense array of micronemes apposed to microtubules at the apical end of the ookinete involved in constitutive secretion. This work advances understanding of the molecular and cellular details of the ookinete and provides the basis of future, more detailed mechanistic experimentation on the biology of the ookinete.


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  • Received : 30 Sep 2011
  • Accepted : 05 Jun 2012
  • Published online : 05 Sep 2012

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