Structural basis for the adherence of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes to chondroitin 4-sulfate and design of novel photoactivable reagents for the identification of parasite adhesive proteins

A. S.Prakasha Gowda, Subba Rao V. Madhunapantula, Rajeshwara N. Achur, Manojkumar Valiyaveettil, Veer P. Bhavanandan, D. Channe Gowda

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23 Scopus citations


A dodecasaccharide motif of the low-sulfated chondroitin 4-sulfate (C4S) mediate the binding of Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells (IRBCs) in human placenta. Here we studied the detailed C4S structural requirements by assessing the ability of chemically modified C4S to inhibit IRBC binding to the placental chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan. Replacement of the N-acetyl groups with bulky N-acyl or N-benzoyl substituents had no effect on the inhibitory activity of C4S, whereas reduction of the carboxyl groups abrogated the activity. Dermatan sulfates showed ∼50% inhibitory activity when compared with C4Ss with similar sulfate contents. These data demonstrate that the C4S carboxyl groups and their equatorial orientation but not the N-acetyl groups are critical for IRBC binding. Conjugation of bulky substituents to the reducing end N-acetylgalactosamine residues of C4S dodecasaccharide had no effect on its inhibitory activity. Based on these results, we prepared photoaffinity reagents for the identification of the parasite proteins involved in C4S binding. Cross-linking of the IRBCs with a radioiodinated photoactivable C4S dodecasaccharide labeled a ∼22-kDa novel parasite protein, suggesting strongly for the first time that a low molecular weight IRBC surface protein rather than a 200-400-kDa PfEMP1 is involved in C4S binding. Conjugation of biotin to the C4S dodecasaccharide photoaffinity probe afforded a strategy for the isolation of the labeled protein by avidin affinity precipitation, facilitating efforts to identify the C4S-adherent IRBC protein(s). Our results also have broader implications for designing oligosaccharide-based photoaffinity probes for the identification of proteins involved in glycosaminoglycan- dependent attachment of microbes to hosts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)916-928
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 12 2007


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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