In vitro genetic analysis of an erythrocyte determinant of malaria infection

J Infect Dis. 2010 Dec 1;202(11):1722-7. doi: 10.1086/657157. Epub 2010 Oct 19.


Invasion of erythrocytes by Plasmodium falciparum is an obligatory step in the life cycle of the parasite. A major challenge is the unambiguous identification and characterization of host receptors. Because erythrocytes lack nuclei, direct genetic analyses have been limited. In this work, we combined an in vitro erythrocyte culture system, which supports P. falciparum invasion and growth, with lentiviral transduction to knock down gene expression. We genetically demonstrate, in an isogenic background, that glycophorin A is required for efficient strain-specific parasite invasion. We establish the feasibility of in vitro systematic functional analysis of essential erythrocyte determinants of malaria and erythrocyte biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Coculture Techniques
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Glycophorins / physiology*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Humans
  • Malaria, Falciparum / genetics
  • Malaria, Falciparum / parasitology*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / genetics
  • Plasmodium falciparum / pathogenicity*


  • Glycophorins