Crystal structure of the NTS-DBL1(alpha-1) domain of the Plasmodium falciparum membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) from the varO strain.

Experimental Data Snapshot

  • Resolution: 2.06 Å
  • R-Value Free: 0.216 
  • R-Value Work: 0.182 
  • R-Value Observed: 0.183 

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Structure of a Plasmodium Falciparum Pfemp1 Rosetting Domain Reveals a Role for the N-Terminal Segment in Heparin-Mediated Rosette Inhibition.

Juillerat, A.Lewit-Bentley, A.Guillotte, M.Gangnard, S.Hessel, A.Baron, B.Vigan-Womas, I.England, P.Mercereau-Puijalon, O.Bentley, G.A.

(2011) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108: 5243

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1018692108
  • Primary Citation of Related Structures:  

  • PubMed Abstract: 

    The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum can cause infected red blood cells (iRBC) to form rosettes with uninfected RBC, a phenotype associated with severe malaria. Rosetting is mediated by a subset of the Plasmodium falciparum membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) variant adhesins expressed on the infected host-cell surface. Heparin and other sulfated oligosaccharides, however, can disrupt rosettes, suggesting that therapeutic approaches to this form of severe malaria are feasible. We present a structural and functional study of the N-terminal domain of PfEMP1 from the VarO variant comprising the N-terminal segment (NTS) and the first DBL domain (DBL1α(1)), which is directly implicated in rosetting. We demonstrate that NTS-DBL1α(1)-VarO binds to RBC and that heparin inhibits this interaction in a dose-dependent manner, thus mimicking heparin-mediated rosette disruption. We have determined the crystal structure of NTS-DBL1α(1), showing that NTS, previously thought to be a structurally independent component of PfEMP1, forms an integral part of the DBL1α domain. Using mutagenesis and docking studies, we have located the heparin-binding site, which includes NTS. NTS, unique to the DBL α-class domain, is thus an intrinsic structural and functional component of the N-terminal VarO domain. The specific interaction observed with heparin opens the way for developing antirosetting therapeutic strategies.

  • Organizational Affiliation

    Institut Pasteur, Unité d'Immunologie Structurale, 75015 Paris, France.

Find similar proteins by:  (by identity cutoff)  |  3D Structure
Entity ID: 1
MoleculeChains Sequence LengthOrganismDetailsImage
ERYTHROCYTE MEMBRANE PROTEIN 1487Plasmodium falciparum Palo Alto/UgandaMutation(s): 10 
Membrane Entity: Yes 
Find proteins for B7T1P0 (Plasmodium falciparum)
Explore B7T1P0 
Go to UniProtKB:  B7T1P0
Entity Groups  
Sequence Clusters30% Identity50% Identity70% Identity90% Identity95% Identity100% Identity
UniProt GroupB7T1P0
Sequence Annotations
  • Reference Sequence
Experimental Data & Validation

Experimental Data

  • Resolution: 2.06 Å
  • R-Value Free: 0.216 
  • R-Value Work: 0.182 
  • R-Value Observed: 0.183 
  • Space Group: P 41 21 2
Unit Cell:
Length ( Å )Angle ( ˚ )
a = 93.248α = 90
b = 93.248β = 90
c = 126.98γ = 90
Software Package:
Software NamePurpose
XDSdata reduction
SCALAdata scaling

Structure Validation

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Entry History 

Revision History  (Full details and data files)

  • Version 1.0: 2011-04-06
    Type: Initial release
  • Version 1.1: 2014-08-20
    Changes: Data collection, Version format compliance
  • Version 1.2: 2019-03-06
    Changes: Data collection, Derived calculations, Experimental preparation, Other