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The adhesion of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes to chondroitin sulfate A is mediated by P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1.

Reeder JC, Cowman AF, Davern KM, Beeson JG, Thompson JK, Rogerson SJ, Brown GV

  • Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

  • Published 10 Jun 1999

  • Volume 96

  • ISSUE 9

  • Pagination 5198-202

  • DOI 10.1073/pnas.96.9.5198


Chondroitin sulfate A (CSA) is an important receptor for the sequestration of Plasmodium falciparum in the placenta, but the parasite ligand involved in adhesion has not previously been identified. Here we report the identification of a var gene transcribed in association with binding to CSA and present evidence that the P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 product of the gene is the parasite ligand mediating CSA binding. Description of this gene and the implication of P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 as the parasite ligand paves the way to a more detailed understanding of the pathogenesis of placental infection and potential therapeutic strategies targeting the interaction.