The merozoite is the invasive form of the asexual stage of Plasmodium species. At least two polymorphic glycoproteins have been found on its surface in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. The best-characterized of these is known as merozoite surface antigen-1 (MSA1) (185-200 kDa) (Ref. 1). Similar molecules are found in other malaria species. The other merozoite surface antigen, MSA2 (35-48 kDa) (Ref. 2), is distinct from MSA1 but is equally polymorphic. In this review, Juan Cooper condenses the body of structural information on MSA1 known to date. A database compiled from MSA1 sequences from several species used together with sequence comparisons and predicted secondary structure reveals interesting features of this molecule.