Surface display in Tetrahymena thermophila as a means to characterize Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte binding proteins
Pittenger, Lauren Grace
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Plasmodium falciparum is the causative agent of the most pathogenic form of malaria. A crucial step in the life cycle of P. falciparum is the invasion of red blood cells by newly released merozoites. Recently a family of proteins was identified that are believed to be involved in erythrocyte invasion. These erythrocyte binding proteins (EBPs) are thought to function by acting as ligands for receptors on the surface of red blood cells. We are further characterizing a novel expression system that was recently demonstrated to produce a full length malaria surface antigen. The putative ligand domains of genes that code for two of these EBP’s, EBA-175 and DBP have been cloned into Tetrahymena thermophila. Initial results suggest that T. thermophila can efficiently express proteins from P. falciparum on its cell surface in a functional form.