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Identification of glycosaminoglycan binding domains in Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 of a chondroitin sulfate A-adherent parasite.

Reeder JC, Hodder AN, Beeson JG, Brown GV

  • Journal Infection and immunity

  • Published 20 Jul 2000

  • Volume 68

  • ISSUE 7

  • Pagination 3923-6

  • DOI 10.1128/IAI.68.7.3923-3926.2000


Accumulation of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes in the placenta is a key feature of maternal malaria. This process is mediated in part by the parasite ligand P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) at the surface of the infected erythrocyte interacting with the host receptor chondroitin sulfate A (CSA) on the placental lining. We have localized CSA binding activity to two adjacent domains in PfEMP1 of an adherent parasite line and shown the presence of at least three active glycosaminoglycan binding sites. A putative CSA binding sequence was identified in one domain, but nonlinear binding motifs are also likely to be present, since binding activity in the region was shown to be dependent on conformation. Characterization of this binding region provides an opportunity to investigate further its potential as a target for antiadhesion therapy.