Small variant STEVOR antigen is uniquely located within Maurer's clefts in Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells

Eukaryot Cell. 2002 Dec;1(6):926-35. doi: 10.1128/EC.1.6.926-935.2002.


Malaria parasite antigens encoded by multigene families are important factors in virulence and in disease pathology. In Plasmodium falciparum, the virulence factor PfEMP-1 is encoded by the var multigene family and is exposed at the infected erythrocyte surface. PfEMP-1 is clonally variant, allowing the parasite to evade host immunity. The recently identified P. falciparum stevor multigene family and its products also have the potential to be involved in similar important aspects of host-parasite interactions. Here, we show tightly regulated stage-specific transcription of stevor occurring over just a few hours of the asexual parasite life cycle. Only a subset of stevor genes are transcribed in parasite populations maintained in cultures and in single micromanipulated parasites. Antibodies against STEVOR recognize proteins of the expected size (approximately 37 kDa) and localize STEVOR in Maurer's clefts, unique membranous structures located in the cytoplasm of infected erythrocytes. The fact that the timing of stevor expression and the location of STEVOR are clearly distinct from those of other parasite variant antigens suggests that this gene family may have a novel role in P. falciparum biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / metabolism
  • Antigens / chemistry*
  • Antigens, Protozoan / chemistry
  • Antigens, Protozoan / metabolism*
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Blotting, Western
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology*
  • Ethidium / pharmacology
  • Exons
  • Intercalating Agents / pharmacology
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Models, Genetic
  • Plasmodium falciparum / metabolism*
  • Precipitin Tests
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Time Factors


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens
  • Antigens, Protozoan
  • Intercalating Agents
  • STEVOR antigen, Plasmodium falciparum
  • Ethidium