Sticky sugars attract malaria to the fetus


The glycosaminoglycan hyaluronic acid has been identified as a second placental receptor for Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes. Discovering the factors that allow this parasite to stick to the placenta during pregnancy may provide clues about how malaria infects other organs (86–90).

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Figure 1: Hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate A, and other unknown receptors are present on the syncytiotrophoblasts that line the placenta.


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Wahlgren, M., Spillmann, D. Sticky sugars attract malaria to the fetus. Nat Med 6, 25–26 (2000).

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