No abstract available
Merozoite surface protein 2 (MSP2) is a highly abundant, GPI-anchored surface antigen on merozoites of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. It consists of highly conserved N- and C-terminal domains, and a central polymorphic region that allows all MSP2 alleles to be categorized into the 3D7 or FC27 family. Previously it has been shown that epitope accessibility differs between lipid-bound and lipid-free MSP2, suggesting that lipid interactions modulate the conformation and antigenicity in a way that may better mimic native MSP2 on the merozoite surface.
As malaria incidence and transmission in a region decreases, it becomes increasingly difficult to identify areas of active transmission. Improved methods for identifying and monitoring foci of active malaria transmission are needed in areas of low parasite prevalence in order to achieve malaria elimination. Serological assays can provide population-level infection history to inform elimination campaigns.
Plasmodium parasites' invasion of their target cells is a complex, multi-step process involving many protein-protein interactions. Little is known about how complex the interaction with target cells is in Plasmodium vivax and few surface molecules related to reticulocytes' adhesion have been described to date. Natural selection, functional and structural analysis were carried out on the previously described vaccine candidate P. vivax merozoite surface protein 10 (PvMSP10) for evaluating its role during initial contact with target cells.
Vaccines that block human-to-mosquito Plasmodium transmission are needed for malaria eradication and clinical trials have targeted zygote antigen Pfs25 for decades. We reported that a Pfs25 protein-protein conjugate vaccine formulated in alum adjuvant induced significant serum functional activity in both US and Malian adults. However, antibody titers declined rapidly, and transmission-reducing activity required four vaccine doses. Functional immunogenicity and durability must be improved before advancing TBV further in clinical development. We hypothesized that the pre-fertilization protein Pfs230 alone or in combination with Pfs25 would improve functional activity.
A safe and effective vaccine will likely be necessary for the control or eradication of malaria which kills 400,000 annually. Our most advanced vaccine candidate to date is RTS,S which is based on the Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein (PfCSP) of the malaria parasite. However, protection by RTS,S is incomplete and short-lived.
Several malaria vaccines are under various phases of development with some promising results. In placental malaria (PM) a deliberately anti-disease approach is considered as many studies have underlined the key role of VAR2CSA protein, which therefore represents the leading vaccine candidate. However, evidence indicates that VAR2CSA antigenic polymorphism remains an obstacle to overcome.
In the phase III RTS,S /AS01 trial, significant heterogeneity in efficacy of the vaccine across study sites was seen. Question on whether variations in socio - economic status (SES) of participant contributed to the heterogeinity of the vaccine efficacy (VE) remains unknown.
An effective vaccine against malaria forms a global health priority. Both naturally acquired immunity and sterile protection induced by irradiated sporozoite immunization were described decades ago. Still no vaccine exists that sufficiently protects children in endemic areas. Identifying immunological correlates of vaccine efficacy can inform rational vaccine design and potentially accelerate clinical development.
The asexual blood stages of the Plasmodium berghei life cycle including merozoites are attractive targets for transmission blocking vaccines and drugs. Improved understanding of P. berghei life cycle stage growth and development would provide new opportunities to evaluate antimalarial vaccines and drugs.