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The role of variant surface antigens on malaria-infected red blood cells.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Parasitology Today
0169-4758
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
15
Issue
11
Pages
455–457
Identifiers
PMID: 10511688
Source
Medline

Abstract

It has been proposed that the primary role of variant antigens appearing on the surface of red blood cells infected with malaria parasites is to mediate cytoadherence, and that the antigenic variation they display is an adaptation to avoid immune attack. Here, Allan Saul proposes that their role is the opposite: that their primary purpose is to generate an immune response, which regulates their growth and thereby establishes a chronic infection, and that the role of cytoadherence is to ensure that parasites failing to express this flag to the immune system are destroyed by the spleen.

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