CD36 receptor and PfEMP1 protein, computer-generated molecular model. CD36 is a protein found in vertebrate cell membrane (lower part of image). It is involved in fatty acid metabolism and transport, innate immunity and formation of new blood vessels. It interacts with lipoprotein particles and facilitates uptake of long chain fatty acids such as palmitic acid (green, white and red). It is also a target of the PfEMP1 proteins (blue) of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, tethering parasite-infected red blood cells to blood vessel walls. The PfEMP1 proteins compete with the body's oxidized low density lipoproteins (oxLDL) for binding to CD36, interfering with physiological fatty acid uptake.
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