Letter | Published:

Enhanced expression of H–2K and H–2D antigens on reticulocytes infected with Plasmodium yoelii

Naturevolume 302pages623626 (1983) | Download Citation



The 17XNL strain of Plasmodium yoelii induces a highly effective and permanent T-cell dependent immunity in mice of the CBA strain1–3; the lethal variant P. yoelii 17XL and P. berghei (ANKA) fail to activate an effective immune response in the same host2–4. These differences in immunogenicity are unexplained. We recently observed that in CBA/CaJ mice the intracellular blood stages of P. yoelii 17XNL were almost exclusively within reticulocytes whereas lethal P.yoelii 17XL and P. berghei (ANKA), at comparable stages of infection, were predominantly erythrocytic. Induction of a reticulocytosis converted the normally lethal P. yoelii 17XL infection into a nonlethal one, and reticulocytic P. yoelii was shown to be more immunogenic than the erythrocytic form. Since one of the differences between reticulocytes and erythrocytes that might have influenced the development of immunity was greater expression of MHC antigens of the former cell type5–7 we examined the expression of H–2K, H–2D and Ia on reticulocytes infected with P. yoelii 17XNL. These cells showed a very marked increase in H–2K and D antigen expression compared to normal reticulocytes or erythrocytes. No Ia was detected. Red blood cells (RBC) infected with lethal P. yoelii 17XL or P. berghei showed no increase in H–2K or H–2D antigen expression. Finally, the level of expression of H–2K on P. yoelii 17XNL parasitized red blood cells from different strains of mice correlated closely with the ability of these strains to control the infection.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Jayawardena, A. N., Targett, G. A. T., Carter, R. L., Leuchars, E. & Davies, A. J. S. Immunology 32, 849–858 (1977).

  2. 2

    Jayawardena, A. N. et al. Nature 258, 149–151 (1975).

  3. 3

    Jayawardena, A. N. in Parasitic Diseases Vol. 1, The Immunology (ed. Mansfield, J. M.) 85–136 (Dekker, New York, 1981).

  4. 4

    Weinbaum, F. I., Evans, C. B. & Tieglar, R. E. J. Immun. 116, 1280–1283 (1976).

  5. 5

    Giphart, M. J. cited by Van Rood, J. J. et al. in MHC in Immunobiology (ed Doort) (Garland, New York, 1981).

  6. 6

    Kourilsky, F. M., Silvestere, D., Levey, J. P., Dausset, J., Nicolai, M. G. & Senik, A. J. Immun. 106, 454–466 (1971).

  7. 7

    Harris, R. & Zervas, J. D. Nature 221, 1062–1063 (1969).

  8. 8

    Kitchen, S. F. Sth. med. J., Nashville 32, 679–685 (1939).

  9. 9

    Bruce-Chwatt, L. J. Ann. Trop. Med. Parasit. 42, 101–102 (1948).

  10. 10

    Garnham, P. C. C. Malaria Parasites and Other Haemosporidia (Blackwell, Oxford, 1966).

  11. 11

    Kitchen, S. F. Am. J. Trop. Med. 18, 347–353 (1938).

  12. 12

    Craik, R. Lancet i 1110–1112 (1920).

  13. 13

    Viens, P., Chevalier, J. L., Sonea, S. & Yoelii, M. Can. J. Microbiol. 17, 257–261 (1971).

  14. 14

    Ott, K. K. J. J. Protozool. 15, 365–369 (1968).

  15. 15

    Zinkernagel, R. M. Curr. Top. Microbiol. Immun. 82, 113–138 (1978).

  16. 16

    Klein, J. Biology of the Mouse Histocompatibility H-2 Complex (Springer, New York, 1975).

  17. 17

    Winchester, R. J. et al. J. exp. Med. 148, 613–618 (1978).

  18. 18

    Hammerling, G. J., Eichmann, K. & Sorg, C. in The Role of Products of the MHC in Immune Responses (eds Katz, D. H. & Benacerraf, B.) 417 (Academic, New York, 1976).

  19. 19

    Geiduschek, J. B. & Singer, S. J. Cell, 16, 149–163 (1979).

  20. 20

    Doherty, P. C., Blande, R. V. & Zinkernagel, R. M. Transplant Rev. 29, 88–124 (1976).

  21. 21

    Shearer, G. M., Rehn, T. G. & Schmitt-Verhulst, A. M. Transplanto Rev. 29, 222–248 (1976).

  22. 22

    Meruelo, D., Nimelstein, S. H., Jones, P. P., Lieberman, M. & McDevitt, H. O. J. exp. Med. 147, 470–487 (1978).

  23. 23

    Emerson, S. G., Murphy, D. B. & Cone, R. E. J. exp. Med. 152, 783–795 (1980).

  24. 24

    Jayawardena, A. N., Murphy, D. B., Janeway, C. A. & Gershon, R. K. J. Immun. 129, 377–381 (1982).

  25. 25

    Gershon, R. K. in The Role of Products of the Histocompatibility Gene Complex in Immune Responses (eds Katz, D. H. & Benacerraf, B) 193–202 (Academic, New York, 1976).

  26. 26

    Gershon, R. K. & Cantor, H. in Development of Host Defenses (eds Cooper, M. D. & Dayton, D. H.) 155–163 (Raven, New York, 1977).

  27. 27

    Gershon, R. K. et al. J. exp. Med. 153, 1533–1546 (1981).

  28. 28

    Playfair, J. H. L., DeSouza, J. B. & Cottrell, B. J. Immunology 32, 681–687 (1977).

  29. 29

    Howard, R. J., Smith, P. M. & Mitchell, G. F. Ann. Trop. Med. Parasit. 72, 573–575 (1978).

  30. 30

    Oi, V., Jones, P. P., Coding, J. W., Herzenberg, L. A. & Herzenberg, L. A. Curr. Top. Microbiol. Immun. 81, 115–129 (1978).

  31. 31

    Loken, M. R. & Herzenberg, L. A. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 254, 163–171 (1975).

  32. 32

    Herzenberg, L. A., Sweet, R. B. & Herzenberg, L. A. Sci. Am. 234, 108 (1976).

Download references

Author information

Author notes

  1. A. N. Jayawardena: Deceased.


  1. Departments of Epidemiology and Public Health, Pathology (Immunology), Pharmacology, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, 06510, USA

    • A. N. Jayawardena
    • , R. Mogil
    • , D. B. Murphy
    • , D. Burger
    •  & R. K. Gershon


  1. Search for A. N. Jayawardena in:

  2. Search for R. Mogil in:

  3. Search for D. B. Murphy in:

  4. Search for D. Burger in:

  5. Search for R. K. Gershon in:

About this article

Publication history



Issue Date



Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.