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Truncation of Plasmodium berghei merozoite surface protein 8 does not affect in vivo blood-stage development.

de Koning-Ward TF, Drew DR, Chesson JM, Beeson JG, Crabb BS

  • Journal Molecular and biochemical parasitology

  • Published 14 Feb 2008

  • Volume 159

  • ISSUE 1

  • Pagination 69-72

  • DOI 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2008.01.005


Merozoite surface protein 8 (MSP8) has shown promise as a vaccine candidate in the Plasmodium yoelii rodent malaria model and has a proposed role in merozoite invasion of erythrocytes. However, the temporal expression and localisation of MSP8 are unusual for a merozoite antigen. Moreover, in Plasmodium falciparum the MSP8 gene could be disrupted with no apparent effect on invitro growth. To address the invivo function of full-length MSP8, we truncated MSP8 in the rodent parasite Plasmodium berghei. PbDeltaMSP8 disruptant parasites displayed a normal blood-stage growth rate but no increase in reticulocyte preference, a phenomenon observed in P. yoelii MSP8 vaccinated mice. Expression levels of erythrocyte surface antigens were similar in P. berghei wild-type and PbDeltaMSP8-infected erythrocytes, suggesting that a parasitophorous vacuole function for MSP8 does not involve global trafficking of such antigens. These data demonstrate that a full-length membrane-associated form of PbMSP8 is not essential for blood-stage growth.