The survival of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes is enhanced by the sequestration of mature trophozoites and schizonts from the peripheral circulation. Cytoadherence of infected erythrocytes in vivo is associated with the presence of knobs on the erythrocyte surface, but we and others have shown recently that cytoadherence to C32 melanoma cells may occur in vitro in the absence of knobs. We show here that a knobless clone of P. falciparum adheres to the leukocyte differentiation antigen, CD36, suggesting that binding to CD36 is independent of the presence of knobs on the surface of the infected erythrocyte. This clone showed little cytoadherence to immobilized thrombospondin or to endothelial cells expressing the intercellular adhesion molecule 1. Furthermore, an Mr approximately 300-kD trypsin-sensitive protein doublet was immunoprecipitated from knobless trophozoite-infected erythrocytes. Finding a P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1)-like molecule on these infected erythrocytes is consistent with a role for PfEMP1 in cytoadherence to CD36 and C32 melanoma cells.

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