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Babesia divergens and Plasmodium falciparum Use Common Receptors, Glycophorins A and B, To Invade the Human Red Blood Cell

Lobo, Cheryl-Ann
Infection and immunity 2005 v.73 no.1 pp. 649-651
Babesia divergens, Plasmodium falciparum, babesiosis, cattle diseases, erythrocytes, humans, mutants, parasites, pathogens, receptors
Babesiosis has long been recognized as an economically important disease of cattle, but only in the last 30 years has Babesia been recognized as an important pathogen in humans. Invasion of erythrocytes is an integral part of the Babesia life cycle. However, very little information is available on the molecules involved in this process, in contrast to another hemoparasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Using invasion assays into normal red blood cells (RBCs), enzyme-treated cells, and clinically mutant cells, we showed that Babesia divergens uses neuraminidase- and trypsin-sensitive receptors to enter the RBCs, of which glycophorins A and B are the prominent ones. These results could have broad implications relating to evolutionarily conserved mechanisms of host cell entry in these related Apicomplexan parasites and pave the way toward a detailed molecular analysis of erythrocyte invasion in B. divergens.