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Science. 1993 Aug 27;261(5125):1182-4.

A receptor for the malarial parasite Plasmodium vivax: the erythrocyte chemokine receptor.

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  • 1Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, CA 94080.


Plasmodium vivax and P. falciparum are the major causes of human malaria, except in sub-Saharan Africa where people lack the Duffy blood group antigen, the erythrocyte receptor for P. vivax. Duffy negative human erythrocytes are resistant to invasion by P. vivax and the related monkey malaria, P. knowlesi. Several lines of evidence in the present study indicate that the Duffy blood group antigen is the erythrocyte receptor for the chemokines interleukin-8 (IL-8) and melanoma growth stimulatory activity (MGSA). First, IL-8 binds minimally to Duffy negative erythrocytes. Second, a monoclonal antibody to the Duffy blood group antigen blocked binding of IL-8 and other chemokines to Duffy positive erythrocytes. Third, both MGSA and IL-8 blocked the binding of the parasite ligand and the invasion of human erythrocytes by P. knowlesi, suggesting the possibility of receptor blockade for anti-malarial therapy.

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