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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Dominance of conserved B-cell epitopes of the Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein, MSP1, in blood-stage infections of naive Aotus monkeys.

We have shown that conserved B epitopes were immunodominant in animals hyperimmunized with parasite-purified or recombinant merozoite surface protein MSP1 of Plasmodium falciparum. Cross-priming studies also suggested that a conserved T-helper epitope(s) is efficient in inducing the anti-MSP1 antibody response. In this study, we determined whether a similar profile of immune responses was induced during live P. falciparum infections. Naive Aotus monkeys were infected by blood-stage challenge with either one of the two dimorphic MSP1 alleles represented by the FUP and FVO parasites. Sera collected after parasite clearance were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). Monkeys infected with parasites carrying one allelic form of MSP1 had antibodies that were equally reactive with homologous or heterologous MSP1s. This preferential recognition of conserved epitopes of MSP1 was confirmed by competitive binding ELISAs. Studies with Plasmodium yoelii and P. falciparum show that the C-terminal 19-kDa fragment of MSP1, MSP1(19), is the target of protective immunity. Thus, monkey sera were assayed for recognition with recombinant MSP1(19)s expressing variant and conserved B epitopes. Results of direct and competitive binding ELISAs showed that the anti-MSP1(19) antibodies were also directed primarily against conserved determinants. The similarities between vaccine- or infection-induced antibody responses suggest a possible reciprocal enhancement of the two populations of anti-MSP1 antibodies when a subunit MSP1 vaccine is introduced into populations living in areas where malaria is endemic. This together with previous observations that conserved determinants are important in MSP1-mediated immunity provides an optimistic outlook that a subunit MSP1 vaccine may be effective and practical for field applications in malaria-exposed populations.[1]


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