Inhibition of antithrombin by Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein II

Matthew Ndonwi, Oname O. Burlingame, Aaron S. Miller, Douglas M. Tollefsen, George J. Broze, Daniel E. Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Histidine-rich protein II (HRPII) is an abundant protein released into the bloodstream by Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes the most severe form of human malaria. Here, we report that HRPII binds tightly and selectively to coagulation-active glycosaminoglycans (dermatan sulfate, heparan sulfate, and heparin) and inhibits antithrombin (AT). In purified systems, recombinant HRPII neutralized the heparin-catalyzed inhibition of factor Xa and thrombin by AT in a Zn2+-dependent manner. The observed 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) for the HRPII neutralization of AT activity is approximately 30nM for factor Xa inhibition and 90nM for thrombin inhibition. Zn2+ was required for these reactions with a distribution coefficient (Kd) of approximately 7μM. Substituting Zn2+ with Cu2+, but not with Ca2+, Mg2+, or Fe2+, maintained the HRPII effect. HRPII attenuated the prolongation in plasma clotting time induced by heparin, suggesting that HRPII inhibits AT activity by preventing its stimulation by heparin. In the microvasculature, where erythrocytes infected with P falciparum are sequestered, high levels of released HRPII may bind cellular glycosaminoglycans, prevent their interaction with AT, and thereby contribute to the procoagulant state associated with P falciparum infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6347-6354
Number of pages8
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 9 2011


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