1. Physics of Living Systems
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Stochastic bond dynamics facilitates alignment of malaria parasite at erythrocyte membrane upon invasion

  1. Sebastian Hillringhaus
  2. Anil K Dasanna
  3. Gerhard Gompper  Is a corresponding author
  4. Dmitry A Fedosov  Is a corresponding author
  1. Forschungszentrum Juelich, Germany
  2. Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e56500 doi: 10.7554/eLife.56500

Abstract

Malaria parasites invade healthy red blood cells (RBCs) during the blood stage of the disease. Even though parasites initially adhere to RBCs with a random orientation, they need to align their apex toward the membrane in order to start the invasion process. Using hydrodynamic simulations of a RBC and parasite, where both interact through discrete stochastic bonds, we show that parasite alignment is governed by the combination of RBC membrane deformability and dynamics of adhesion bonds. The stochastic nature of bond-based interactions facilitates a diffusive-like re-orientation of the parasite at the RBC membrane, while RBC deformation aids in the establishment of apex-membrane contact through partial parasite wrapping by the membrane. This bond-based model for parasite adhesion quantitatively captures alignment times measured experimentally and demonstrates that alignment times increase drastically with increasing rigidity of the RBC membrane. Our results suggest that the alignment process is mediated simply by passive parasite adhesion.

Data availability

All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data files have been provided for Figures 2-8, including all figure supplements. Figure 1 is a model schematic, which does not contain any data.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Sebastian Hillringhaus

    Institute of Biological Information Processing, Forschungszentrum Juelich, Juelich, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-0100-9368
  2. Anil K Dasanna

    Institute of Biological Information Processing, Forschungszentrum Juelich, Juelich, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-5960-4579
  3. Gerhard Gompper

    Theoretical Soft Matter and Biophysics, Institute of Complex Systems and Institute for Advanced Simulation, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany
    For correspondence
    g.gompper@fz-juelich.de
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-8904-0986
  4. Dmitry A Fedosov

    Institute of Biological Information Processing, Forschungszentrum Juelich, Juelich, Germany
    For correspondence
    d.fedosov@fz-juelich.de
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-7469-9844

Funding

The authors declare that there was no funding for this work.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Raymond E Goldstein, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Publication history

  1. Received: February 29, 2020
  2. Accepted: May 17, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: May 18, 2020 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: June 3, 2020 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2020, Hillringhaus et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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