Glycosylphosphatidylinositols synthesized by asexual erythrocytic stages of the malarial parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Candidates for plasmodial glycosylphosphatidylinositol membrane anchor precursors and pathogenicity factors

J Biol Chem. 1994 Jan 28;269(4):2597-606.


Plasmodium falciparum is the causative agent of malaria tropica in man. Biochemical studies were focused on the asexual, intraerythrocytic stages of P. falciparum, because of their role in the clinical phase of the disease and the possibility of propagation in a cell culture system. In this report, we describe the in-culture labeling of malarial glycolipids and the analysis of their hydrophilic moieties. They were identified as glycosylphosphatidylinositols (GPIs) by: 1) labeling with [3H]mannose, [3H]glucosamine, and [3H]ethanolamine and 2) sensitivity toward glycosylphosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase D, phospholipase A2, and nitrous acid. Malarial GPIs are shown to be unaffected by treatment with phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C, regardless of prior treatment with mild base commonly used for inositol deacylation. Two candidates for putative GPI-anchor precursors to malarial membrane proteins with the structures ethanolamine-phosphate-6(Man alpha 1-2)Man alpha 1-2Man alpha 1-6Man alpha 1-4 GlcN-PI (Pfg1 alpha) and ethanolamine-phosphate-6Man alpha 1-2Man alpha 1-6Man-alpha 1-4-GlcN-PI (Pfg1 beta) were identified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Chromatography, Gel
  • Chromatography, Ion Exchange
  • Chromatography, Thin Layer
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology*
  • Ethanolamine
  • Ethanolamines / metabolism
  • Glucosamine / metabolism
  • Glycolipids / biosynthesis*
  • Glycolipids / chemistry
  • Glycolipids / isolation & purification
  • Glycosylphosphatidylinositols / biosynthesis*
  • Glycosylphosphatidylinositols / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Mannose / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phospholipase D / metabolism
  • Phospholipases A / metabolism
  • Phospholipases A2
  • Plasmodium falciparum / metabolism*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / physiology
  • Polysaccharides / biosynthesis
  • Polysaccharides / isolation & purification
  • Tritium


  • Ethanolamines
  • Glycolipids
  • Glycosylphosphatidylinositols
  • Polysaccharides
  • Tritium
  • Ethanolamine
  • Phospholipases A
  • Phospholipases A2
  • Phospholipase D
  • Glucosamine
  • Mannose