Interaction of the 140/130/110 kDa Rhoptry Protein Complex of Plasmodium falciparum With the Erythrocyte Membrane and Liposomes

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Experimental Parasitology


During Plasmodium faciparum merozoite invasion into human and mouse erythrocytes, a 110-kDa rhoptry protein is secreted from the organelle into the erythrocyte membrane. In the present study our interest was to examine the interaction of rhoptry proteins of P. falciparum with the erythrocyte membrane. It was observed that the complex of rhoptry proteins of 140/130/110 kDa bind directly to a trypsin sensitive site on intact mouse erythrocytes, and not human, saimiri, or other erythrocytes. However, when erythrocytes were disrupted by hypotonic lysis, rhoptry proteins of 140/130/110 kDa were found to bind to membranes and inside-out vesicles prepared from human, mouse, saimiri, rhesus, rat, and rabbit erythrocytes. A binding site on the cytoplasmic face of the erythrocyte membrane suggests that the rhoptry proteins may be translocated across the lipid bilayer during merozoite invasion. Furthermore, pretreatment of human erythrocytes with a specific peptide derived from MSA-1, the major P. falciparum merozoite surface antigen of MW 190,000-200,000, induced binding of the 140/130/110-kDa complex. The rhoptry proteins bound equally to normal human erythrocytes and erythrocytes treated with neuraminidase, trypsin, and chymotrypsin indicating the binding site was independent of glycophorin and other major surface proteins. The rhoptry protein complex also bound specifically to liposomes prepared from different types of phospholipids. Liposomes containing PE effectively block binding of the rhoptry proteins to mouse cells, suggesting that there are two binding sites on the mouse membrane for the 140/130/110-kDa complex, one protein and a second, possibly lipid in nature. The results of this study suggest that the 140/130/110 kDa protein complex may interact directly with sites in the lipid bilayer of the erythrocyte membrane. © 1991.