Merozoite surface proteins of Plasmodium falciparum play a critical role in the invasion of human erythrocytes by the malaria parasite. Here we describe the identification of a novel protein with a molecular mass of 40 kDa that is found on the merozoite surface of P. falciparum. We call this protein merozoite surface protein 4 (MSP-4). Evidence for the surface location of MSP-4 includes (i) a staining pattern that is consistent with merozoite surface location in indirect immunofluorescent studies of cultured parasites, (ii) localization of MSP-4 in the detergent phase in Triton X-114 partitioning studies, and (iii) nucleotide sequencing studies which predict the presence of an N-terminal signal sequence and a hydrophobic C-terminal sequence in the protein. Immunoprecipitation studies of biosynthetically labelled parasites with [3H] myristic acid indicated that MSP-4 is anchored on the merozoite surface by a glycosylphosphatidylinositol moiety. Of considerable interest is the presence of a single epidermal growth factor-like domain at the C terminus of the MSP-4 protein, making it the second protein with such a structure to be found on the merozoite surface
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