Resistance to malaria in ankyrin and spectrin deficient mice

Br J Haematol. 1991 Aug;78(4):555-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.1991.tb04488.x.


Inbred mice carrying mutations in ankyrin and/or spectrin synthesis and assembly were studied for their ability to support the growth of the rodent malarias, Plasmodium chabaudi adami and P. berghei, in vivo. Mice carrying the nb/nb (normoblastosis) mutation which do not synthesize ankyrin and therefore also have a deficiency in membrane-bound spectrin, were refractory to P. chabaudi adami, which invades mature erythrocytes and to P. berghei, which invades reticulocytes. Similarly, sph/sph mice which do not synthesize the alpha chain of spectrin but do synthesize ankyrin, were also resistant to both parasites. The heterozygote for the nb defect (nb/+) exhibited a diminution of parasitaemia. We conclude that the host cell spectrin may be necessary for the invasion and/or growth of rodent malarial parasites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anemia / complications
  • Animals
  • Ankyrins
  • Blood Proteins / deficiency*
  • Erythrocytes / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Malaria / blood*
  • Malaria / complications
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / deficiency*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Plasmodium / growth & development*
  • Plasmodium berghei / growth & development
  • Spectrin / deficiency*


  • Ankyrins
  • Blood Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Spectrin