The Cysteine-Rich Interdomain Region from the Highly Variable Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein-1 Exhibits a Conserved Structure.Klein, M.M., Gittis, A.G., Su, H.P., Makobongo, M.O., Moore, J.M., Singh, S., Miller, L.H., Garboczi, D.N.
(2008) PLoS Pathog 4: e1000147-e1000147
- PubMed: 18773118
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1000147
- Primary Citation of Related Structures:
- PubMed Abstract:
Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites, living in red blood cells, express proteins of the erythrocyte membrane protein-1 (PfEMP1) family on the red blood cell surface. The binding of PfEMP1 molecules to human cell surface receptors mediates the adherence of infected red blood cells to human tissues. The sequences of the 60 PfEMP1 genes in each parasite genome vary greatly from parasite to parasite, yet the variant PfEMP1 proteins maintain receptor binding. Almost all parasites isolated directly from patients bind the human CD36 receptor. Of the several kinds of highly polymorphic cysteine-rich interdomain region (CIDR) domains classified by sequence, only the CIDR1alpha domains bind CD36. Here we describe the CD36-binding portion of a CIDR1alpha domain, MC179, as a bundle of three alpha-helices that are connected by a loop and three additional helices. The MC179 structure, containing seven conserved cysteines and 10 conserved hydrophobic residues, predicts similar structures for the hundreds of CIDR sequences from the many genome sequences now known. Comparison of MC179 with the CIDR domains in the genome of the P. falciparum 3D7 strain provides insights into CIDR domain structure. The CIDR1alpha three-helix bundle exhibits less than 20% sequence identity with the three-helix bundles of Duffy-binding like (DBL) domains, but the two kinds of bundles are almost identical. Despite the enormous diversity of PfEMP1 sequences, the CIDR1alpha and DBL protein structures, taken together, predict that a PfEMP1 molecule is a polymer of three-helix bundles elaborated by a variety of connecting helices and loops. From the structures also comes the insight that DBL1alpha domains are approximately 100 residues larger and that CIDR1alpha domains are approximately 100 residues smaller than sequence alignments predict. This new understanding of PfEMP1 structure will allow the use of better-defined PfEMP1 domains for functional studies, for the design of candidate vaccines, and for understanding the molecular basis of cytoadherence.
Structural Biology Section, Laboratory of Immunogenetics, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America.