Encyclopedia of Parasitology

Living Edition
| Editors: Heinz Mehlhorn


  • Heinz Mehlhorn
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27769-6_4245-1

In the case of infections with Plasmodium falciparum, infected red blood cells are sequestered away from the peripheral blood circulation by their adhesion at the walls inside microvascular blood vessels, which thus become often completely blocked for normal blood transportation. This adhesion is mediated by a protein included in the cell membrane of P. falciparum infected erythrocyte (PfEMP1). Similar effects are seen in P. reichenowi infected red blood cells although P. reichenowi and P. falciparum were thought to have divided themselves from each other about 5–7 million years ago (Escalante et al. 1998). PfEMP1 is presented at the surface of the infected red blood cells at places which are called knobs. These tiny protrusions, which are clearly visible using scanning electron microscopy, are largely composed of the “knob-associated-histidine-rich protein (KAHRP)” (Kilejia 1979).

Since early stages of P. falciparumgametocytes are also sequestered away from peripheral circulation of...


Electron Microscopy Scanning Electron Microscopy Cell Membrane Blood Vessel Plasmodium Falciparum 
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  1. Escalante AA et al (1998) The evolution of primate malaria parasites based on the gene encoding cytochrome b from the linear mitrochondrial genome. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 95:8124–8129CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Kilejia AC (1979) Characterization of a protein correlated with the production of knob-like protrusions on membranes of erythrocytes infected with Plasmodium falciparum. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 76:4650–4653CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Further Reading

  1. Cyrklaff M et al (2012) Host actin remodeling and protection from malaria by hemoglobinopathies. Trends Parasitol 28:478–485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Dixon DWA et al (2012) Shape-shifting gametocytes: how and why does P. falciparum go banana-shaped. Trends Parasitol 28:471–478CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Zoomorphologie, Zellbiologie und ParasitologieHeinrich-Heine-UniversitätDüsseldorfGermany