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J Biol Chem. 1990 Oct 15;265(29):17974-9.

A merozoite receptor protein from Plasmodium knowlesi is highly conserved and distributed throughout Plasmodium.

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  • 1Malaria Section, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


The 66-kDa merozoite surface antigen (PK66) of Plasmodium knowlesi, a simian malaria, possesses vaccine-related properties that are thought to originate from a receptor-like role in parasite invasion of erythrocytes. We report the complete sequence of PK66 which allowed the demonstration that highly conserved analogues exist throughout Plasmodium including a recently reported gene from P. falciparum (Peterson, M. G., Marshall, V. M., Smythe, J. A., Crewther, P. E., Lew, A., Silva, A., Anders, R. F., and Kemp, D. J. (1989) Mol. Cell. Biol. 9, 3151-3155). These analogues are highly promising vaccination candidates. The distribution of PK66 changes after schizont rupture in a coordinate manner associated with merozoite invasion. The protein is concentrated at the apical end prior to rupture, following which it can distribute itself entirely across the surface of the free merozoite. During invasion, immunofluorescence studies suggest that, PK66 is excluded from the erythrocyte at, and behind, the invasion interface.

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