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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1990 Dec;43(2):211-20.

Sequence comparison of allelic forms of the Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface antigen MSA2.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC 20307-5100.


MSA2 is a strain variable blood-stage merozoite surface antigen of Plasmodium falciparum. We have derived the MSA2 nucleotide sequence for four cloned parasite isolates. Comparison with three other published sequences suggests that variation may be limited, and that the architecture of the gene can be conveniently described by segregation into four distinct regions. The N and C terminal regions (Regions 1 and 4) are highly conserved in all seven genes. Six of these seven MSA2 genes can be grouped in a single family, within which variation is largely limited to a region characterized by the presence of tandem repeats (Region 2). We have observed two new forms of repeat in a Gly, Ser, Ala-rich block, and noted the absence of repeat in this block of the CAMP strain. The region downstream of the repeat region (Region 3) is highly conserved within this family. Immunochemical analysis reveals that MSA2 is one of the antigens recognized by immune antibodies eluted from intact merozoites. Regions 2 and 3, expressed as recombinant proteins, are recognized by these antibodies, suggesting that these regions are exposed at the surface of the intact merozoite.

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