Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Interactions between parasite-encoded proteins and host carbohydrate molecules are essential at multiple stages in the life cycle of the malaria-causing parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, and these interactions are targets for the development of therapeutics to treat the disease. Here we review recent structural studies of carbohydrate binding modules that mediate recognition events important for cell invasion and cytoadhesion. In particular we focus on the structures of two molecules; the erythrocyte binding antigen, EBA-175 involved in erythrocyte invasion and the VAR2CSA protein that mediates binding of infected erythrocytes to the placenta. These proteins both use Duffy-binding like (DBL) domains, a Plasmodium specific fold, to bind host carbohydrates, but recent results show that they differ significantly in their architectures and modes of ligand recognition.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Opin Struct Biol

Publication Date





560 - 566


Animals, Carbohydrate Metabolism, Cell Adhesion, Erythrocytes, Humans, Malaria, N-Acetylneuraminic Acid, Plasmodium falciparum