Variant Gene Expression and Antigenic Variation by Malaria Parasites

Kirk W. Deitsch, Ron Dzikowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Malaria is a significant threat throughout the developing world. Among the most fascinating aspects of the protozoan parasites responsible for this disease are the methods they employ to avoid the immune system and perpetuate chronic infections. Key among these is antigenic variation: By systematically altering antigens that are displayed to the host's immune system, the parasite renders the adaptive immune response ineffective. For Plasmodium falciparum, the species responsible for the most severe form of human malaria, this process involves a complicated molecular mechanism that results in continuously changing patterns of variant-antigen-encoding gene expression. Although many features of this process remain obscure, significant progress has been made in recent years to decipher various molecular aspects of the regulatory cascade that causes chronic infection.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)625-641
Number of pages17
JournalAnnual Review of Microbiology
StatePublished - 8 Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2017 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


  • Cytoadherence
  • Epigenetic memory
  • Host-parasite interactions
  • Mutually exclusive expression
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • var gene


Dive into the research topics of 'Variant Gene Expression and Antigenic Variation by Malaria Parasites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this