Encyclopedia of Parasitology

Living Edition
| Editors: Heinz Mehlhorn

VAR Glues

  • Heinz Mehlhorn
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27769-6_4365-1

This family of genes is responsible in Plasmodium falciparum for the antigenic variation protein along the surface of the infected erythrocyte. These genes (often more than 50) are scattered over most of the malarial chromosomes. Similar genes (called vir genes) exist in P. vivax and others (called SICAvar) are described in P. knowlesi. The switching rate from one set of antigens to another one is thought to be high; e.g., apparently two percent of P. falciparum stages switched to a new antigen in every erythrocytic cycle. Thus the variations seem non-limited.


Plasmodium Falciparum Similar Gene Variation Protein Antigenic Variation Infected Erythrocyte 
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Further Reading

  1. Del Portillo HA et al (2001) A superfamily of variant genes encoded in the subtelomeric region of Plasmodium vivax. Nature 410:839–842CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Gatton ML et al (2003) Switching rates of Plasmodium falciparum var genes: faster than we thought. Trends Parasitol 19:2002–2008CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für ZoomorphologieZellbiologie und ParasitologieDüsseldorfGermany