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Comprehensive analysis of Fc-mediated IgM binding to the Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 family in three parasite clones

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PfEMP1 is a family of adhesive proteins expressed on the surface of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes (IEs), where they mediate adhesion of IEs to a range of host receptors. Efficient PfEMP1-dependent IE sequestration often depends on soluble serum proteins, including IgM. Here, we report a comprehensive investigation of which of the about 60 var gene-encoded PfEMP1 variants per parasite genome can bind IgM via the Fc part of the antibody molecule, and which of the constituent domains of those PfEMP1 are involved. We erased the epigenetic memory of var gene expression in three distinct P. falciparum clones, 3D7, HB3, and IT4/FCR3 by promoter titration, and then isolated individual IEs binding IgM from malaria-unexposed individuals by fluorescence-activated single-cell sorting. The var gene transcription profiles of sub-clones measured by real-time qPCR were used to identify potential IgM-binding PfEMP1 variants. Recombinant DBL and CIDR domains corresponding to those variants were tested by ELISA and protein arrays to confirm their IgM-binding capacity. Selected DBL domains were used to raise specific rat anti-sera to select IEs with uniform expression of candidate PfEMP1 proteins. Our data document that IgM-binding PfEMP1 proteins are common in each of the three clones studied, and that the binding epitopes are mainly found in DBLε and DBLζ domains near the C-terminus.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)6050
ISSN2045-2322
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2019

ID: 59421178