A short-term in vitro culture system that allows for significant re-invasion of target erythrocytes by Plasmodium vivax was used to study the role of the Duffy blood group antigen as a ligand for merozoite invasion by this human malaria species. Using human Duffy-positive and -negative erythrocytes, various primate erythrocytes, enzymatic modification of erythrocytes, and mAb that defines a new Duffy determinant (Fy6) we conclude that the erythrocyte glycoprotein carrying Duffy determinants is required as a ligand for the invasion of human erythrocytes by P. vivax merozoites. Blockade of invasion by Fab fragments of the anti-Fy6 mAb equal to that of the intact molecule and the correlation of P. vivax susceptibility with the presence of the Fy6 determinant suggests this epitope or a nearby domain may be an active site on the Duffy glycoprotein. However, as for P. knowlesi, there is evidence that an alternate pathway for P. vivax invasion of simian erythrocytes may exist.

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