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Cross-reactive surface epitopes on chondroitin sulfate A-adherent Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes are associated with transcription of var2csa.

Elliott SR, Duffy MF, Byrne TJ, Beeson JG, Mann EJ, Wilson DW, Rogerson SJ, Brown GV

  • Journal Infection and immunity

  • Published 07 Jun 2005

  • Volume 73

  • ISSUE 5

  • Pagination 2848-56

  • DOI 10.1128/IAI.73.5.2848-2856.2005


Malaria in pregnancy is associated with placental accumulation of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes (IE) that adhere to chondroitin sulfate A (CSA). Adhesion is mediated by P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1), a variant parasite protein expressed on the surface of IE and encoded by var genes. Rabbit antiserum was generated against the CSA-adherent P. falciparum line CS2, in which the dominant var transcribed is var2csa, a relatively conserved var gene that has been associated with CSA adhesion. Anti-CS2 recognized genetically distinct CSA-adherent P. falciparum lines but not CD36-adherent parent lines. Reactivity with anti-CS2 correlated with the level of adhesion to CSA. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting according to binding of anti-CS2 showed reactivity was associated with CSA adhesion and transcription of var2csa. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that var2csa encodes a PfEMP1 expressed on the surface of IE, which mediates adhesion to CSA and is relatively conserved between genetically distinct strains of P. falciparum.