Several proteins synthesized by mature asexual stages of Plasmodium falciparum interact with the erythrocyte membrane skeleton. One of these is the mature-parasite-infected erythrocyte surface antigen (MESA; also called PfEMP2), a phosphoprotein of 250-300 kDa, which is found on the internal face of the erythrocyte membrane. When MESA is precipitated with anti-MESA antibodies, another phosphoprotein of 80 kDa is co-precipitated. This 80-kDa phosphoprotein was identified by peptide mapping as the erythrocyte membrane component band 4.1. Thus, MESA is apparently anchored at the erythrocyte membrane through an association with band 4.1. Band 4.1 is more intensely phosphorylated in infected erythrocytes and is increased in relative molecular mass in erythrocytes infected by isolates of P. falciparum that cytoadhere.