Crystal and Solution Structures of Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Binding Antigen 140 Reveal Determinants of Receptor Specificity during Erythrocyte Invasion.
ABSTRACT Erythrocyte-binding antigen 140 (PfEBA-140) is a critical Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte invasion ligand that engages Glycophorin C on host erythrocytes during malaria infection. The minimal receptor binding region of PfEBA-140 contains two conserved Duffy binding-like (DBL) domains, a fold unique to Plasmodia species. Here, we present the crystal structure of the receptor binding region of PfEBA-140 at 2.4 angstrom resolution. The two domain binding region is present as a monomer in the asymmetric unit, and the structure reveals novel features in PfEBA-140 that are likely determinants of receptor specificity. Analysis by small-angle X-ray scattering demonstrates that the minimal binding region is monomeric in solution, consistent with the crystal structure. Erythrocyte binding assays show that the full length binding region containing the tandem DBL domains is required for erythrocyte engagement, suggesting that both domains contain critical receptor contact sites. The electrostatic surface of PfEBA-140 elucidates a basic patch that constitutes a putative high affinity binding interface spanning both DBL domains. Mutation of residues within this interface results in severely diminished erythrocyte binding. This study provides insight into the structural basis and mechanism of PfEBA-140 receptor engagement and forms a basis for future studies of this critical interaction. In addition, the solution and crystal structures allow the first identification of likely determinants of erythrocyte receptor specificity for P. falciparum invasion ligands. A complete understanding of the PfEBA-140 erythrocyte invasion pathway will aid in the design of invasion inhibitory therapeutics and vaccines.
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ABSTRACT: The malaria parasite, , and related parasites use a variety of proteins with Duffy-Binding Like (DBL) domains to bind glycoproteins on the surface of host cells. Among these proteins, the 175 kDa erythrocyte binding antigen, EBA-175, specifically binds to glycophorin A on the surface of human erythrocytes during the process of merozoite invasion. The domain responsible for glycophorin A binding was identified as region II (RII) which contains two DBL domains, F1 and F2. The crystal structure of this region revealed a dimer that is presumed to represent the glycophorin A binding conformation as sialic acid binding sites and large cavities are observed at the dimer interface. The dimer interface is largely composed of two loops from within each monomer, identified as the F1 and F2 β-fingers that contact depressions in the opposing monomers in a similar manner. Previous studies have identified a panel of five monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) termed R215 to R218 and R256 that bind to RII and inhibit invasion of erythrocytes to varying extents. In this study, we predict the F2 β-finger region as the conformational epitope for mAbs, R215, R217, and R256, and confirm binding for the most effective blocking mAb R217 and R215 to a synthetic peptide mimic of the F2 β-finger. Localization of the epitope to the dimerization and glycan binding sites of EBA-175 RII and site-directed mutagenesis within the predicted epitope are consistent with R215 and R217 blocking erythrocyte invasion by by preventing formation of the EBA-175- glycophorin A complex.PLoS ONE 02/2013; · 3.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Disrupting erythrocyte invasion by Plasmodium falciparum is an attractive approach to combat malaria. P. falciparum EBA-175 (PfEBA-175) engages the host receptor Glycophorin A (GpA) during invasion and is a leading vaccine candidate. Antibodies that recognize PfEBA-175 can prevent parasite growth, although not all antibodies are inhibitory. Here, using x-ray crystallography, small-angle x-ray scattering and functional studies, we report the structural basis and mechanism for inhibition by two PfEBA-175 antibodies. Structures of each antibody in complex with the PfEBA-175 receptor binding domain reveal that the most potent inhibitory antibody, R217, engages critical GpA binding residues and the proposed dimer interface of PfEBA-175. A second weakly inhibitory antibody, R218, binds to an asparagine-rich surface loop. We show that the epitopes identified by structural studies are critical for antibody binding. Together, the structural and mapping studies reveal distinct mechanisms of action, with R217 directly preventing receptor binding while R218 allows for receptor binding. Using a direct receptor binding assay we show R217 directly blocks GpA engagement while R218 does not. Our studies elaborate on the complex interaction between PfEBA-175 and GpA and highlight new approaches to targeting the molecular mechanism of P. falciparum invasion of erythrocytes. The results suggest studies aiming to improve the efficacy of blood-stage vaccines, either by selecting single or combining multiple parasite antigens, should assess the antibody response to defined inhibitory epitopes as well as the response to the whole protein antigen. Finally, this work demonstrates the importance of identifying inhibitory-epitopes and avoiding decoy-epitopes in antibody-based therapies, vaccines and diagnostics.PLoS Pathogens 05/2013; 9(5):e1003390. · 8.14 Impact Factor