Research Article

Subcellular localization of Pfs16, a Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte antigen

D. A. Bakera1, O. Daramolaa1, M. V. McCrossana1, J. Harmera1 and G. A. T. Targetta1

a1 Department of Medical Parasitology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT


We have used immunoelectron microscopy to investigate the subcellular location of Pfs16 in Plasmodium falciparum. It was detected in the outer membrane region of gametocytes and more specifically on the parasitophorous vacuole membrane (pvm), since, during gametogenesis when the pvm disintegrates, the majority of the antigen was detected on the remains of this membrane in multilaminated whorls and not on the gamete plasma membrane. The antigen was also present on other gametocyte cellular structures, including those which we believe to be Garnham bodies, present in the host cell cytoplasm of some gametocytes. The antigen was present too on the membrane surrounding cytostomes and the resulting food vacuoles in the parasite cytoplasm.

(Received April 15 1993)

(Revised July 15 1993)

(Accepted July 16 1993)