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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1991 May;46(1):137-47.

The ring-infected erythrocyte surface antigen of Plasmodium falciparum associates with spectrin in the erythrocyte membrane.

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Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria, Australia.


The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum synthesises a protein, RESA, which associates with the membrane of newly invaded erythrocytes. Using spent supernatants from P. falciparum growing in culture as a source of soluble RESA we have developed an assay to examine the characteristics of RESA binding to the erythrocyte membrane in vitro. RESA associated with the Triton X-100 insoluble proteins on the inner face of the host erythrocyte membrane but did not bind to the outer surface of intact erythrocytes. Other proteins present in culture supernatants did not bind to the erythrocyte membrane. RESA was co-sedimented with the ternary complex formed between actin, spectrin and band 4.1 and co-precipitated with spectrin precipitated with anti-spectrin antibodies. The extent of association between RESA and the inner face of the erythrocyte membrane was reduced by the inclusion of excess purified spectrin in the assay. Thus, RESA appears to be associated with spectrin in the erythrocyte membrane skeleton.

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