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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz

Print version ISSN 0074-0276On-line version ISSN 1678-8060

Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz vol.87  suppl.3 Rio de Janeiro  1992 

A malaria merozoite surface protein (MSP1)-structure, processing and function

Anthony A. Holder1 

Michael J. Blackman2 

Petra A. Burghaus1 

Jonathan A. Chappel1 

Irene T. Ling1 

Neil McCallum-Deighton1 

Shafrira Shai1 

National Institute for Medical Research, Division of Parasitology, London, UK

National Institute for Medical Research, Division of Parasitology, London,


Merozoite surface protein-1 (MSP-1, also referred to as P195, PMMSA or MSA 1) is one of the most studied of all malaria proteins. The proteins. The protein is found in all malaria species investigated and structural studies on the gene indicate that parts of the molecule are well-conserved. Studies on Plasmodium falciparum have shown that the protein is in a processed form on the merozoite surface, a result of proteolytic cleavage of the large percursor molecule. Recent studies have identified some of these cleavage sites. During invasion of the new red cell most of the MSP1 molecule is shed from the parasite surface except for a small C-terminal fragment which can be detected in ring stages. Analysis of the structure of this fragment suggests that it contains two growth factor-like domains that may have a functional role.

Key words: malaria; merozoite surface protein; Plasmodium


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