Malaria is a global health concern, and research efforts are ongoing to develop a superior vaccine to RTS,S/AS01. To guide immunogen design, we seek a comprehensive understanding of the protective humoral response against Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) circumsporozoite protein (PfCSP).
Anti-circumsporozoite antibody titres have been established as an essential indicator for evaluating the immunogenicity and protective capacity of the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine.
Generating sufficient antibody to block infection is a key challenge for vaccines against malaria. Here, we show that antibody titers to a key target, the repeat region of the Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein (PfCSP), plateaued after two immunizations in a clinical trial of the radiation-attenuated sporozoite vaccine. To understand the mechanisms limiting vaccine responsiveness, we developed immunoglobulin (Ig)-knockin mice with elevated numbers of PfCSP-binding B cells.
Rapid diagnostic tests are first line assays for diagnosing infectious diseases, such as malaria. To minimize false positive and false negative test results in population screening assays, high quality reagents and well characterized antigens and antibodies are needed. An important property of antigen - antibody binding is recognition specificity which best can be estimated by mapping an antibody's epitope on the respective antigen.
Malaria parasites form intracellular membranes that separate the parasite from the internal space of erythrocytes, and membrane proteins from the parasites are exported to the host via the membrane. In our previous study, Plasmodium vivax early transcribed membrane protein (PvETRAMP) 11.2, an intracellular membrane protein that is highly expressed in blood-stage parasites, was characterized as a highly immunogenic protein in P. vivax malaria patients. However, the other PvETRAMP family proteins have not yet been investigated. In this study, PvETRAMPs were expressed and evaluated to determine their immunological profiles.
Malaria vaccine candidate RTS,S/AS01 is based on the central and C-terminal regions of the circumsporozoite protein (CSP) of P. falciparum. mAb397 was isolated from a volunteer in an RTS,S/AS01 clinical trial, and it protects mice from infection by malaria sporozoites. However, mAb397 originates from the less commonly used VH3-15 germline gene compared to the VH3-30/33 antibodies generally elicited by RTS,S to the central NANP repeat region of CSP. The crystal structure of mAb397 with an NPNA4 peptide shows that the central NPNA forms a type I β-turn and is the main recognition motif.