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Sci Rep. 2012;2:614. doi: 10.1038/srep00614. Epub 2012 Aug 30.

Pf155/RESA protein influences the dynamic microcirculatory behavior of ring-stage Plasmodium falciparum infected red blood cells.

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Proteins exported by Plasmodium falciparum to the red blood cell (RBC) membrane modify the structural properties of the parasitized RBC (Pf-RBC). Although quasi-static single cell assays show reduced ring-stage Pf-RBCs deformability, the parameters influencing their microcirculatory behavior remain unexplored. Here, we study the dynamic properties of ring-stage Pf-RBCs and the role of the parasite protein Pf155/Ring-Infected Erythrocyte Surface Antigen (RESA). Diffraction phase microscopy revealed RESA-driven decreased Pf-RBCs membrane fluctuations. Microfluidic experiments showed a RESA-dependent reduction in the Pf-RBCs transit velocity, which was potentiated at febrile temperature. In a microspheres filtration system, incubation at febrile temperature impaired traversal of RESA-expressing Pf-RBCs. These results show that RESA influences ring-stage Pf-RBCs microcirculation, an effect that is fever-enhanced. This is the first identification of a parasite factor influencing the dynamic circulation of young asexual Pf-RBCs in physiologically relevant conditions, offering novel possibilities for interventions to reduce parasite survival and pathogenesis in its human host.

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