Plasmodium falciparum STEVOR proteins impact erythrocyte mechanical properties

Blood. 2012 Jan 12;119(2):e1-8. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-08-370734. Epub 2011 Nov 21.


Infection of erythrocytes with the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, results in dramatic changes to the host cell structure and morphology. The predicted functional localization of the STEVOR proteins at the erythrocyte surface suggests that they may be involved in parasite-induced modifications of the erythrocyte membrane during parasite development. To address the biologic function of STEVOR proteins, we subjected a panel of stevor transgenic parasites and wild-type clonal lines exhibiting different expression levels for stevor genes to functional assays exploring parasite-induced modifications of the erythrocyte membrane. Using this approach, we show that stevor expression impacts deformability of the erythrocyte membrane. This process may facilitate parasite sequestration in deep tissue vasculature.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Protozoan / genetics
  • Antigens, Protozoan / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / metabolism
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / parasitology
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / pathology*
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology
  • Erythrocytes / pathology*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Humans
  • Malaria, Falciparum / parasitology*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / growth & development*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / isolation & purification
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Antigens, Protozoan
  • RNA, Messenger
  • STEVOR antigen, Plasmodium falciparum