Goel S, Palmkvist M, Moll K, Joannin N, Lara P, Akhouri RR, Moradi N, Öjemalm K, Westman M, Angeletti D, Kjellin H, Lehtiö J, Blixt O, Ideström L, Gahmberg CG, Storry JR, Hult AK, Olsson ML, von Heijne G, Nilsson I, Wahlgren M
Nat. Med. 21 (4) 314-317 [2015-04-00; online 2015-03-09]
Rosetting is a virulent Plasmodium falciparum phenomenon associated with severe malaria. Here we demonstrate that P. falciparum-encoded repetitive interspersed families of polypeptides (RIFINs) are expressed on the surface of infected red blood cells (iRBCs), where they bind to RBCs--preferentially of blood group A--to form large rosettes and mediate microvascular binding of iRBCs. We suggest that RIFINs have a fundamental role in the development of severe malaria and thereby contribute to the varying global distribution of ABO blood groups in the human population.