A novel ligand from Plasmodium falciparum that binds to a sialic acid-containing receptor on the surface of human erythrocytes

Mol Microbiol. 2001 Jul;41(1):47-58. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2001.02484.x.


Invasion of the merozoite form of Plasmodium falciparum into human erythrocytes involves multiple receptor-ligand interactions. The EBA175 protein of P. falciparum has been shown to be the ligand that binds to a sialic acid-dependent site on glycophorin A. We have identified a novel P. falciparum ligand, termed erythrocyte-binding antigen 140 (EBA140), that shares structural features and homology with EBA175. Subcellular localization of EBA140 suggests that it is located in the micronemes, the same localization as EBA175. EBA140 binds to a sialic acid-dependent receptor on the surface of human erythrocytes. Binding of EBA140 to this erythrocyte receptor is sensitive to neuraminidase and resistant to trypsin, proteinase K and pronase. The protease-resistant properties of the erythrocyte receptor suggests that it is not glycophorin A or C. Additionally, analysis of mutant erythrocytes from humans has shown that EBA140 does not bind glycophorin B. Interestingly, we have identified a parasite line that lacks the eba140 gene, suggesting that this protein is not essential for in vitro invasion. These results suggest that EBA140 may be involved in merozoite invasion using a sialic acid-dependent receptor on human erythrocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Protozoan*
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology*
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Malaria, Falciparum / parasitology
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmodium falciparum / growth & development
  • Plasmodium falciparum / metabolism
  • Plasmodium falciparum / pathogenicity*
  • Protozoan Proteins / chemistry
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*


  • Antigens, Protozoan
  • Carrier Proteins
  • EBA140 protein, Plasmodium falciparum
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • erythrocyte-binding antigen 175, Plasmodium
  • sialic acid receptor