Ultrastructural Localization of the 150/130 Kd Antigens in Sexual and Asexual Blood Stages of Plasmodium falciparum-Infected Human Erythrocytes

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  • * Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106
  • Department of Medical and Molecular Parasitology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016

The subcellular localization of the 150/130 Kd antigen in Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes was determined by electron microscopy using monoclonal antibody 9B11 and immuno-gold labeling. We now find that this antigen may be associated with the membrane of newly-infected human erythrocytes and the cytoplasm of ring stage parasites. During differentiation of the parasite to the trophozoite stage, the antigens are no longer detectable on the erythrocyte membrane, while gold particles become more numerous within the parasite and in the erythrocyte cytoplasm adjacent to the parasite. As the parasites develop into schizonts, more antigen appears within the parasites, and some of it appears in the erythrocyte cytoplasm. At the segmented schizont stage, many intraparasitic gold particles are associated with rhoptries and micronemes of developing merozoites. Likewise, gold particles are associated with elements of the rhoptry-microneme complex in free merozoites. No gold particles are detected on the surface of merozoites. These antigens are found most abundantly in erythrocytes infected with gametocytes, revealing a localization pattern similar to that of mature trophozoite-infected erythrocytes. These subcellular localization patterns are similar to those described for the ring-infected erythrocyte surface antigen.