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Host-parasite coevolution has been likened to a molecular arms race, with particular parasite genes evolving to evade specific host defenses. Study of the variants of an antigenic epitope of Plasmodium falciparum that induces a cytotoxic T cell response supports this view. In African children with malaria, the variants present are influenced by the presence of a human leukocyte antigen (HLA) type that restricts the immune response to this epitope. The distribution of parasite variants may be further influenced by the ability of cohabiting parasite strains to facilitate each other's survival by down-regulating cellular immune responses, using altered peptide ligand antagonism.

Original publication

DOI

10.1126/science.279.5354.1173

Type

Journal article

Journal

Science (new york, n.y.)

Publication Date

02/1998

Volume

279

Pages

1173 - 1177

Addresses

Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Windmill Road, Oxford OX3 7BN, UK.

Keywords

T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic, Animals, Humans, Plasmodium falciparum, Malaria, Falciparum, Protozoan Proteins, Antigens, Protozoan, HLA-B35 Antigen, Epitopes, Ligands, Evolution, Molecular, Alleles, Genes, Protozoan, Models, Biological, Child, Gambia, Genetic Variation, Biological Evolution