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OBJECTIVES/GOALS: Recent in vitro evidence suggests that diverse parasite protein families called RIFINs and STEVORs are displayed on the surface of infected red blood cells and may have a role in severe malaria, but they remain sparsely studied in natural infections. We measured the RNA expression of these antigens in Malian children with severe or mild malaria illness. METHODS/STUDY POPULATION: We collected blood samples from Malian children aged six months to five years, including 14 with cerebral malaria, 10 with severe malarial anemia, and demographic-matched controls with mild, uncomplicated malaria. We extracted total RNA from each patient and used a custom capture array to selectively enrich Plasmodium falciparum parasite RNA. We then performed Illumina next-generation RNA sequencing and reconstructed parasite transcriptomes using reference-free de novo assembly. We identified RNA encoding RIFINs and STEVORs using an in-house classifier, then measured the diversity and abundance of gene expression for each infection. Expression diversity was defined as the number of unique variants transcribed. Expression abundance was calculated as transcripts per million (TPM). RESULTS/ANTICIPATED RESULTS: Cerebral malaria cases, but not severe malarial anemia cases, had higher diversity and abundance of RIFIN expression compared to mild infections. Type A RIFINs predominated over Type B RIFINs, and the same two RIFINs were predominantly expressed in all disease phenotypes. We anticipate that predominantly expressed RIFINs share high sequence homology with variants previously shown to bind blood antigens or immune inhibitory receptors. STEVOR expression was also higher in cerebral malaria compared to mild malaria, but STEVOR transcripts were sparse overall. DISCUSSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Elevated RIFIN expression in cerebral malaria over mild malaria supports a role for these antigens in pathogenesis. Severe malarial anemia may progress through a different pathogenic mechanism. Predominantly expressed RIFIN variants may be promising targets for vaccines and therapeutics to protect children against cerebral malaria.
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