A 60-kDa Plasmodium falciparum protein at the moving junction formed between merozoite and erythrocyte during invasion

Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1989 Sep;36(2):177-85. doi: 10.1016/0166-6851(89)90190-4.


Invasion of erythrocytes by malaria merozoites requires the formation of a junction of attachment between erythrocyte and merozoite membranes. The attachment junction initially forms at the apical region of the merozoite. It then moves around to the posterior of the merozoite as invasion proceeds. A monoclonal antibody against a 60-kDa merozoite protein (termed MCP-1 for merozoite capping protein 1) of Plasmodium falciparum reacts in an immunofluorescence pattern resembling the moving junction. By two-color immunofluorescence, MCP-1 was located at the attachment site formed between the merozoite apical region and erythrocyte. During invasion, MCP-1 separated and migrated around merozoites at the orifice of the parasitophorous vacuole. In newly-invaded erythrocytes, MCP-1 persisted at the pole of the young parasite nearest the erythrocyte membrane, suggesting its anterior-to-posterior movement. MCP-1 exhibited no variability in molecular mass among the FCR-3, Camp and 7G8 strains of P. falciparum, and the epitope was invariant in the P. falciparum strains studied. We conclude that MCP-1 may participate in merozoite invasion of erythrocytes by facilitating attachment or movement of the junction along the parasite cytoskeletal network.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Protozoan / analysis*
  • Erythrocytes / analysis
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Immunoblotting
  • Mice
  • Plasmodium falciparum / analysis*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / physiology
  • Plasmodium falciparum / ultrastructure


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Protozoan