Identification of the Domain of Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein (PfEMP1) that Mediates Adhesion to Chondroiti
Posted Feb 27 2011 7:00pm
Description of Invention: Plasmodium falciparum malaria is more severe in pregnant women and causes disease in the mother and fetal death, even in those women who were previously immune. Severe malaria during pregnancy is more common during the first pregnancy (primigravida) and much less after multiple pregnancies (multigravid). Pregnant women are infected by parasites that sequester in the placenta and such sequestration contributes to growth retardation, infant mortality and severe anemia. Multigravid women develop antibodies that block the adhesion of infected erythrocytes to their placental receptor, chondroitin sulfate A (CSA). This interaction is mediated by specific var (PfEMP1) genes that bind to the host receptor CSA. The domain of the CSA-binding var gene that mediates adherence to CSA has been identified. This domain and potentially other parts of the molecule can give rise to development of anti malaria vaccines and therapeutics that will protect women from placental malaria, particularly during their first pregnancy.
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