Free and protein-bound glycosylphosphatidylinositols (GPIs) of the blood stages of the rodent malarial parasite Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi AS were identified and characterized. TLC analysis of material extracted by organic solvents from metabolically labelled parasites revealed a distinct set of glycolipids. These glycolipids were identified as GPIs by specific chemical and enzymic treatments and by structural analysis of their glycan and hydrophobic parts. These analyses revealed that P. c. chabaudi AS synthesizes a set of GPI-biosynthesis intermediates and two potential GPI-anchor precursors exhibiting the following structures: ethanolamine-phosphate [(α1-2)mannose]mannose(α1-2)mannose(α1-6)mannose(α1-4)glucosamine-(acyl)inositol-phosphate-diacylglycerol (P. ch. α) and ethanolamine-phosphate-mannose(α1-2)mannose(α1-6)mannose(α1-4)glucosamine-(acyl)inositol-phosphate-diacylglycerol (P. ch. β). One of these GPI-anchor precursors (P. ch. α) possesses the same carbohydrate structure as the GPI membrane anchor of merozoite surface protein-1 from P. c. chabaudi AS.

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