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_4396-1

This term represents the abbreviation for “variable surface antigens,” which are produced by the parasite and found on the surface of, e.g., parasitized erythrocytes (in the case of Plasmodium infections). These VSAs promote the adhesion of infected erythrocytes to endothelium cells of the host and also act antigenetically to the host immune system. In order to mitigate host immune defense, the malarial parasites (and others) have evolved from a variety of VSA genes.


Endothelium Cell Immune System Surface Antigen Immune Defense Host Immune System 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

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