Complement Evasion Mechanisms of the Human Pathogen Plasmodium falciparum

  • Alexander T. Kennedy
  • Christoph Q. Schmidt
  • Wai-Hong ThamEmail author


Malaria parasites have evolved ingenious mechanisms to escape the human immune system to enable the establishment of successful blood-stage infection. Recent studies identifying novel host-pathogen interactions between the complement system and malaria parasites yield insights on the mechanisms of parasite entry into red blood cells, complement evasion strategies and the development of malaria pathogenesis. In particular, human complement regulators are co-opted by parasite adhesins and surface proteins for parasite invasion and to evade complement attack. However, these studies are also beginning to reveal the duality of the complement system in mediating both parasite destruction and facilitating efficient parasite invasion. The following provides a brief overview of complement evasion strategies employed by blood-stage malaria parasites and highlights the importance of understanding the complex interplay between complement and parasite infection.


Plasmodium Malaria Merozoite Surface proteins Complement evasion Factor H 6 Cysteine proteins Parasite invasion 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander T. Kennedy
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christoph Q. Schmidt
    • 3
  • Wai-Hong Tham
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical ResearchParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Medical BiologyUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  3. 3.Institute of Pharmacology of Natural Products and Clinical PharmacologyUlm UniversityUlmGermany

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