Plasmodium falciparum infection during pregnancy results in the sequestration of infected red blood cells (IRBCs) in the placenta, contributing to pregnancy associated malaria (PAM). IRBC adherence is mediated by the binding of a variant Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte binding protein 1 named VAR2CSA to the low sulfated chondroitin 4-sulfate (C4S) proteoglycan (CSPG) present predominantly in the intervillous space of the placenta. IRBC binding is highly specific to the level and distribution of 4-sulfate groups in C4S. Given the strict specificity of IRBC-C4S interactions, it is better to use either placental CSPG or CSPGs bearing structurally similar C4S chains in defining VAR2CSA structural architecture that interact with C4S, evaluating VAR2CSA constructs for vaccine development or studying structure-based inhibitors as therapeutics for PAM.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases