Polylactosamines are not obligate receptors for invasion of Plasmodium falciparum malaria as shown in HEMPAS variant II-gal erythrocytes

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A HEMPAS (hereditary erythroblastic multinuclearity with positive acidified serum test) erythrocyte, atypical Variant II (referred to herein as Variant II-gal-), lacking long-chain polylactosamine on both glycoproteins (Band 3 and 4.5) and glycosphingolipids, was characterized by the carbohydrate profile of the erythrocyte membrane according to Fukuda et al. (Blood, 73, 1331-1339, 1989). Two laboratories previously reported that polylactosamine isolated from the erythrocyte protein Band 3 inhibited invasion of red blood cells by Plasmodium falciparum in malarial culture, suggesting a role for this carbohydrate in adhesion of the parasite. Therefore, HEMPAS erythrocyte Variant II-gal- presented a unique opportunity to further examine this premise. Freshly drawn blood samples (normal and HEMPAS Variant II-gal-) were separately incubated with P.falciparum from mannitol-synchronized cultures. The parasite was found to invade HEMPAS Variant II-gal- erythrocytes at a 30% lower rate through two life cycles, as shown by microscopic evaluation of invasion and by [3H]hypoxanthine incorporation into parasite. This observation, along with the published fact that glycophorin-deficient MkMk cells are also infectable, but at a lower rate, indicates that neither sialoglycoproteins nor polylactosamines are an obligate adhesive ligand for P.falciparum, although the possibility remains that either may still contribute to adhesive events during infection. © 1994 Oxford University Press.

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