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Exp Parasitol. 1986 Dec;62(3):416-22.

Plasmodium falciparum: protease inhibitors and inhibition of erythrocyte invasion.


Invasion of human red blood cells by Plasmodium falciparum is inhibited by the protease inhibitors, leupeptin and chymostatin. The efficacy of chymostatin was reduced if the cells were first treated with chymotrypsin. On the other hand, exposure of fresh cells to the supernatant from a synchronous culture at the reinvasion stage showed no such effect. This suggests that a proteolytic step occurs in the course of invasion and may be confined to the region of contact between the invading parasite and the erythrocyte. To test this, leupeptin or chymostatin was introduced into lysed cells, which were then resealed. The intracellular inhibitor strongly reduced invasion. Leupeptin also caused a striking effect on the development of the trophozoite stage of the parasites: a massive vacuole, apparently containing undigested haemoglobin, developed within the parasite. This did not totally stop development and the vacuolated parasites could be recovered in relatively pure form by lysis of the parasitised host cells with saponin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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