Multiple ligands for cytoadherence can be present simultaneously on the surface of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes

Sansanee C. Chaiyaroj, Ross L. Coppel, Susanna Novakovic, Graham V. Brown

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A major virulence factor of Plasmodium falciparum is the adherence of parasitized erythrocytes to the wall of postcapillary venules via a specific interaction between parasite-derived erythrocyte surface ligands and receptors on endothelial cells. To study this phenomenon in vitro, we selected a parasite population that expressed at least two different ligands and demonstrated that parasitized cells may coexpress ligands with specificity for multiple receptors. This selected parasite line had several antigenic and cytoadherence characteristics that were different from those of the parent line. Single parasitized erythrocytes were able to adhere to three distinct receptors via at least two separate ligands; a trypsin-sensitive molecule mediated cytoadherence to CD36 and intercellular adhesion molecule I and a trypsin-insensitive molecule(s) was responsible for adherence to a third receptor on the surface of melanoma cells. We present evidence that this newly discovered receptor for cytoadherence is an N-linked glycosaminoglycan, as treatment of melanoma cells with endoglycosidase H abolished cytoadherence. These observations emphasize the adaptability of P. falciparum and the complexity of the cytoadherence phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10805-10808
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • antigenicity
  • glycosaminoglycan
  • malaria
  • receptors

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