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Nature. 1989 Apr 27;338(6218):763-5.

Cytoadherence of knobless Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes and its inhibition by a human monoclonal antibody.

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Department of Immunology, University of Stockholm, Sweden.


Red blood cells infected with mature stages of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum bind to the endothelial lining of capillaries and venules. This sequestration is important for the survival of the parasite but may have severe consequences for the host. For example, it is involved in the causation of cerebral malaria which carries 25% mortality. Knob-like protrusions present on the surface of infected erythrocytes have been considered necessary but not sufficient for this cytoadherence. Here we describe the adhesion to endothelial cells of infected erythrocytes which do not have knobs. A human monoclonal antibody (33G2) which was specific for an epitope containing regularly spaced dimers of glutamic acid present in the repeated amino-acid sequences of some defined P. falciparum antigens was found to inhibit cyto-adherence and may therefore be an important reagent for elucidating the molecular basis of parasite sequestration.

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