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J Exp Med. 1988 Jun 1;167(6):1873-81.

Receptor-like specificity of a Plasmodium knowlesi malarial protein that binds to Duffy antigen ligands on erythrocytes.

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Department of Immunology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC 20307.


A 135-kD parasite protein, a minor component of the Plasmodium knowlesi malaria radiolabeled proteins released into culture supernatant at the time of merozoite release and reinvasion, specifically bound to human erythrocytes that are invaded and carry a Duffy blood group determinant (Fya or Fyb), but did not bind to human erythrocytes that are not invaded and do not carry a Duffy determinant (FyFy). Specific anti-Duffy antibodies blocked the binding of the 135-kD protein to erythrocytes carrying that specific Duffy determinant. Purified 135-kD protein bound specifically to the 35-45-kD Duffy glycoprotein on a blot of electrophoretically separated membrane proteins from Fya and Fyb erythrocytes but not from FyFy erythrocytes. Binding of the 135-kD protein was consistently greater to Fyb than to Fya both on the blot and on intact erythrocytes. The 135-kD protein also bound to rhesus erythrocytes that are Fyb and are invaded, but not to rabbit or guinea pig erythrocytes that are Duffy-negative and are not invaded. Cleavage of the Duffy determinant by pretreating Fyb human erythrocytes with chymotrypsin greatly reduced both invasion and binding of the 135-kD protein, whereas pretreating Fyb erythrocytes with trypsin had little effect on the Duffy antigen, the 135-kD protein binding, or on invasion. However, instances of invasion of other enzyme-treated erythrocytes that are Duffy-negative and do not bind the 135-kD protein suggest that alternative pathways for invasion do exist.

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