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Infectious disease


Endothelial protein C receptor (EPCR)

In vitro and cell culture studies suggest disrupting the interaction between Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) and EPCR could help prevent severe malaria. In an in vitro screen, EPCR was found to interact with a form of PfEMP1 containing a domain cassette 8 (DC8) variant, which is associated with severe malaria. In vitro, parasites expressing DC8-PfEMP1 bound EPCR with higher affinity than wild-type parasites. In coculture, an antibody that blocked interaction with EPCR or a soluble isoform of EPCR prevented parasite binding to epithelial cells.
Next steps include better defining the PfEMP1-EPCR interaction to inform vaccine development.

SciBX 6(26); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.660
Published online July 11, 2013

Unpatented; licensing status not applicable

Turner, L. et al. Nature; published online June 5, 2013;
Contact: Thomas Lavstsen, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Contact: Louise Turner, same affiliation as above