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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Plasmodium falciparum: modulation of surface antigenic expression of infected erythrocytes as revealed by cell fluorescence ELISA.

The surface reactivity of heterologous immune sera with erythrocytes infected with Plasmodium falciparum has been difficult to assess in quantitative terms because of the restricted accessibility of surface epitopes and the lack of sensitive methodologies. In a previous study we showed that cryptic antigens can become exposed on the surface of intact trophozoites if the sterol content of the membranes is increased by means conservative of cell integrity (D. Baruch and Z. I. Cabantchik, Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology 36, 127-138, 1990). In this work we introduce a novel and highly sensitive method of fluorescence cell ELISA for the quantitative estimation of immunoglobulin binding to the surface of P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes. We obtained that elevation of the membrane sterol content markedly increased the (external) surface accessibility of antigenic epitopes of trophozoites as well as rings of various strains of P. falciparum. This treatment induced exposure of similar epitope(s) on the surface of both rings and trophozoites insofar as preadsorption of sera on sterol-treated cells abolished immunoglobulin binding to either stage of infected erythrocytes (treated or not with sterol). These putative epitopes have relatively low but demonstrable accessibility on the surface of untreated rings but become virtually inaccessible at the trophozoite stage. Application of a large variety of sera (98) to sterol-treated infected cells revealed that almost 70% of the tested sera were found to give positive surface reactivity. Relatively higher intensity of binding was obtained with sera originating from clinically immune individuals. Binding of sera to cells infected with five different P. falciparum strains was essentially indistinguishable, strongly suggesting that elevation of membrane visocity induces surface exposure of cryptic epitopes common to different parasite strains.[1]


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