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Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.01444

Sticking for a cause: the falciparum malaria parasites cytoadherence paradigm

Ween-Chyau Lee1,  bruce Russell2 and  Laurent Rénia1*
  • 1Singapore Immuology Network, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
  • 2Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Otago, New Zealand

After a successful invasion, malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum extensively remodels the infected erythrocyte cellular architecture, conferring cytoadhesive properties to the infected erythrocytes. Cytoadherence plays a central role in the parasite’s immune-escape mechanism, at the same time contributing to the pathogenesis of severe falciparum malaria. In this review, we discuss the cytoadhesive interactions between P. falciparum infected erythrocytes and various host cell types, and how these events are linked to malaria pathogenesis. We also highlight the limitations faced by studies attempting to correlate diversity in parasite ligands and host receptors with the development of severe malaria.

Keywords: Plasmodium, cytoadherence, Pathogenesis, Malaria, host immune responses

Received: 12 Jul 2018; Accepted: 10 Jun 2019.

Edited by:

Xun Suo, China Agricultural University, China

Reviewed by:

Alister Craig, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom
James G. Beeson, Burnet Institute, Australia  

Copyright: © 2019 Lee, Russell and Rénia. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Laurent Rénia, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore Immuology Network, Singapore, 138632, Singapore,