Pf155/RESA protein influences the dynamic microcirculatory behavior of ring-stage Plasmodium falciparum infected red blood cells

Sci Rep. 2012;2:614. doi: 10.1038/srep00614. Epub 2012 Aug 30.


Proteins exported by Plasmodium falciparum to the red blood cell (RBC) membrane modify the structural properties of the parasitized RBC (Pf-RBC). Although quasi-static single cell assays show reduced ring-stage Pf-RBCs deformability, the parameters influencing their microcirculatory behavior remain unexplored. Here, we study the dynamic properties of ring-stage Pf-RBCs and the role of the parasite protein Pf155/Ring-Infected Erythrocyte Surface Antigen (RESA). Diffraction phase microscopy revealed RESA-driven decreased Pf-RBCs membrane fluctuations. Microfluidic experiments showed a RESA-dependent reduction in the Pf-RBCs transit velocity, which was potentiated at febrile temperature. In a microspheres filtration system, incubation at febrile temperature impaired traversal of RESA-expressing Pf-RBCs. These results show that RESA influences ring-stage Pf-RBCs microcirculation, an effect that is fever-enhanced. This is the first identification of a parasite factor influencing the dynamic circulation of young asexual Pf-RBCs in physiologically relevant conditions, offering novel possibilities for interventions to reduce parasite survival and pathogenesis in its human host.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism*
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology*
  • Humans
  • Plasmodium falciparum / growth & development
  • Plasmodium falciparum / metabolism*
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism*
  • Temperature


  • Protozoan Proteins
  • ring-infected erythrocyte surface antigen (RESA), Plasmodium falciparum