Author(s): Mavoungou E, Held J, Mewono L, Kremsner PG
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Abstract The recent demonstration that purified natural killer (NK) cells lyse Plasmodium falciparum-parasitized red blood cells (Pf-pRBCs) suggests that innate immunity is important in malaria. NK cell killing--presumably an early host response to infection--requires intimate contact between NK natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCRs) and ligands expressed on the surface of Pf-pRBCs. We investigated whether the Duffy binding-like (DBL)-1 alpha domain of P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein-1 (PfEMP-1) expressed on parasitized erythrocytes rendered Pf-pRBCs susceptible to NK cell lysis. We showed that with NKp30-immunoglobulin and NKp46-immunoglobulin fusion proteins and DBL-1alpha peptides NCRs are involved in the NK cell-Pf-pRBC interaction. This interaction was direct, specific, and functional, leading to perforin production and granzyme B release. The prior treatment of NK cells with DBL-1 alpha peptides abolished both this interaction and killing activity, suggesting that DBL-1 alpha -NCRs interaction is the key recognition mechanism leading to parasite killing by NK cells.
This article was published in J Infect Dis
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology