In an attempt to identify parasite surface components involved in the interaction with the host cell, the present research focuses on the rafts of Eimeria tenella that might be involved in the host cell invasion process. To that end, this study was undertaken to investigate the expression of flotillin-1, which is an important component and marker of lipid rafts at the plasma membrane of sporozoites of E. tenella. The expression of this plasma membrane protein was identified by an antibody that specifically reacts with flotillin-1 and was studied by electron microscopy. Flotillin-1 was found to occur in patches on the surface of E. tenella sporozoites. Immunoblot analysis of the total proteins of the sporozoites showed only 1 band of approximately 48 kDa. This indicates that the antibody exclusively recognized the molecules of flotillin-1 expressed on the surface of E. tenella sporozoites. The presence of flotillin-1 on the cellular membrane of sporozoites predominantly at the apical tip suggests that flotillin-1 belongs to the invasion machinery of E. tenella.

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