In this report and (R. Schmidt-Ullrich, L. H. Miller, and D. F. H. Wallach. Manuscript in preparation.), we have demonstrated that malaria proteins on the surface of merozoites and infected erythrocytes cross-react between at least two primate malarias, Plasmodium knowlesi and P. falciparum. Sera from five Gambian adults who were highly immune to P. falciparum were used as a reagent to study the cross-reactivity between P. falciparum schizonts and surface proteins on P. knowlesi merozoites. Although the sera bound to the surface of viable, intact P. knowlesi merozoites, the sera did not block invasion of rhesus erythrocytes. 125I-lactoperoxidase-labeled surface proteins on merozoites formed complexes with the antibody. All major protein bands seen in the electrophoresis of the original Triton extract were bound by the immune sera. Because Gambians have never been exposed to P. knowlesi malaria, the antibodies that reacted with P. knowlesi merozoites must be directed against antigens of another parasite such as P. falciparum. We tested this hypothesis by competition for antibody in a Gambian serum between Triton-extracted antigens from P. falciparum schizont-infected erythrocytes and from surface-labeled P. knowlesi merozoites. P. falciparum inhibited the reaction, thus indicating cross-reaction between antigens in P. falciparum schizonts and P. knowlesi merozoites.

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