Calcium and the malaria parasite: Parasite maturation and the loss of red cell deformability

D. J. Krogstad, S. P. Sutera, J. S. Marvel, I. Y. Gluzman, C. W. Boylan, J. R. Colca, J. R. Williamson, P. H. Schlesinger

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17 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the studies reported here, we examined the role of calcium in the maturation of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, and in the loss of red cell deformability associated with parasite maturation. P. falciparum alters the permeability of its host red cell, which normally maintains submicromolar cytoplasmic concentrations of calcium. Infection of the red cell and parasite maturation produce a 30-fold increase in calcium uptake. Both parasite maturation and the loss of red cell deformability are blocked by EGTA (by extracellular-free calcium concentrations ≤35 μM) and by other calcium antagonists. The loss of red cell deformability that occurs with parasite maturation is accompanied by alterations in the cytoskeletal proteins of parasitized red cells similar to those produced by the calcium ionophore A23187 (reductions in bands 2.1 [ankyrin], 4.1, and 5 [actin]). These results establish that parasite development and the loss of red cell deformability are calcium-dependent. They suggest that parasite-induced changes in the calcium permeability of the red cell activate endogenous transglutaminase activity by raising the free calcium concentration of the red cell cytoplasm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-241
Number of pages13
JournalBlood Cells
Volume17
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

Keywords

  • A23187
  • Calcium
  • Calcium ionophore
  • Cytoskeletal proteins
  • Deformability
  • EGTA
  • Malaria
  • Parasite maturation
  • Plasmodium falciparum

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