The role of PfEMP1
is to enable adhesion of infected erythrocyte to various host receptors to avoid splenic clearance, and clonal antigenic variation allows infected erythrocyte to evade immune recognition.
falciparum is the var gene family which encodes PfEMP1
, a protein that is exported to the 'knob like' binding structures on the surface of infected erythrocytes with a key role in antigenic variation and cytoadherence (12).
In 2012, three groups of researchers, including the teams at the University of Copenhagen and Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, showed that a specific type of PfEMP1
protein was responsible for cerebral binding and other severe forms of malaria infection.
is not found in other forms of malaria or in older people.
To hone in on specific PfEMP1
types associated with severe malaria, Thomas Lavstsen, Ph.D., and his team from the University of Denmark used molecular techniques to compare the levels of different PfEMP1
transcripts in blood samples from children hospitalized in the pediatric ward of the Korogwe District Hospital in Tanzania.
The A and B trisaccharides are thought to act as receptors for rosetting on uninfected erythrocytes and direct binding between the parasite rosetting ligand PfEMP1
and the A antigen has been demonstrated.
falciparum-infected erythrocyte membrane protein I (PfEMP1
) antigens, which are expressed on the surface of the infected erythrocytes.
He added that 15 years ago, it first became clear that placental parasite infestation was the result of adhesion of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG) to the syncytiotrophoblast cell surface, and that the P.falciparum receptor was a member of the antigenically-diverse PfEMP1
multigene family, VAR2CSA.
The research team led by Professor Alan Cowman from the institute's Infection and Immunity division has revealed details about the first molecule found to control the genetic expression of PfEMP1
(Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1), a protein that is known to be a major cause of disease during malaria infection.
falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1
), which is encoded by var genes is an important virulence factor that may provide an explanation why certain MSP-1 genotypes have been associated with the clinical disease.
"We know that one protein, called PfEMP1
, that is particularly important for the host immune response can be produced in many different varieties, and these can be altered by the parasite to avoid detection by the immune system," she stated.
Apart from merozoite surface proteins, parasite proteins present on the erythrocyte surface, such as PfEMP1
, have also been considered for a place in the subunit vaccine.