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PLoS Pathog. 2009 Jan;5(1):e1000265. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000265. Epub 2009 Jan 16.

Malaria parasite invasion of the mosquito salivary gland requires interaction between the Plasmodium TRAP and the Anopheles saglin proteins.

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Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology and Malaria Research Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America.


SM1 is a twelve-amino-acid peptide that binds tightly to the Anopheles salivary gland and inhibits its invasion by Plasmodium sporozoites. By use of UV-crosslinking experiments between the peptide and its salivary gland target protein, we have identified the Anopheles salivary protein, saglin, as the receptor for SM1. Furthermore, by use of an anti-SM1 antibody, we have determined that the peptide is a mimotope of the Plasmodium sporozoite Thrombospondin Related Anonymous Protein (TRAP). TRAP binds to saglin with high specificity. Point mutations in TRAP's binding domain A abrogate binding, and binding is competed for by the SM1 peptide. Importantly, in vivo down-regulation of saglin expression results in strong inhibition of salivary gland invasion. Together, the results suggest that saglin/TRAP interaction is crucial for salivary gland invasion by Plasmodium sporozoites.

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