Where is complement receptor 1 stored in human brain endothelial cells?

University of Edinburgh

Past award

Student: Alexandros Constantinou : University of Edinburgh

Year Award Started: 2016

Over half a million children under five develop cerebral malaria every year in Africa alone. The disease develops when parasites stick to the lining of the brain’s blood vessels, leading to coma and death. We know that malaria-infected red blood cells will stick to a receptor called complement receptor 1 (CR1) like velcro. Kenyan children are protected against cerebral malaria if they inherit a special form of CR1. We already know that CR1 is found on red and white blood cells, but we wondered whether CR1 might also be on the lining of brain blood vessels, acting as a sticking partner for parasites in the brain. We looked at the cells that line the brain blood vessels and found that they do contain CR1, which is stored in pools inside the cells. This project use “glow-in-the-dark” markers to label parts of the cell and see where the pools are. This will help us discover what CR1 is doing in the brain, with the aim of using this knowledge to protect children against cerebral malaria.

Research area: Infections, inflammation or immunology


ProfessorJane Rowe
School of Biological Sciences