Cross-Reactive Epitope among Proteins in Plasmodium falciparum Maurer's Clefts and Primate Leukocytes and Platelets

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  • Department of Immunology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Malaria Section, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, George Washington University, Naval Medical Research Institute, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Affymax Research Institute, Washington, District of Columbia
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Erythrocytes infected with malaria parasites often contain membranous vesicles that are presumed to facilitate macromolecule traffic between the parasite and erythrocyte membranes. One such vesicle network, called Maurer's clefts, is expressed in Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes and contains a 50-kD polypeptide. Using a monoclonal antibody reactive with this polypeptide, we show that hepatic stages of P. falciparum express an epitope common to this blood-stage antigen. In addition, this epitope is cross-reactive with antigens expressed by primate leukocytes and platelets. Such epitopes may induce autoantibodies commonly seen in patients with malaria.

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