The intracellular development of the erythrocytic stage of the malarial parasite (merozoite) is initiated by the attachment of the parasite to the erythrocyte surface. This paper describes an assay system to investigate Plasmodium falciparum merozoite entry into the host cell and reports on three observations regarding this interaction. (a) Merozoites do not invade human erythrocytes treated with either trypsin or neuraminidase, and both enzymes partially cleave glycophorin A, the major erythrocyte surface sialoglycoprotein. (b) A membrane protein fraction containing glycophorin A will, at low concentrations, inhibit the invasion of isolated merozoites into erythrocytes; no other fractions of membrane proteins have appreciable effects on the reinvasion. (c) Merozoites do not reinvade erythrocytes preincubated with F ab' fragments of antibody prepared against glycophorin A. Together, these three observations imply a role for glycophorin A in the attachment of the malarial parasite to the erythrocyte surface.

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