Malaria infection in a vertebrate host is initiated when Plasmodium sporozoites invade hepatocytes after injection by an infected mosquito. In vitro, the parasites invade and develop in HepG2 cells and these cells have been used to study target cell invasion by sporozoites. Previously described in vitro invasion assays involve staining and counting of intracellular sporozoites or exoerythrocytic forms of the parasite. Here we describe an immunoradiometric assay that can quantify sporozoite invasion of HepG2 cells in vitro. The assay relies on the differential detection of intracellular and extracellular circumsporozoite protein (CS; the major surface protein of the sporozoite) which can then be used to calculate the efficiency of invasion. Since this assay can be performed more rapidly than the current assays in which parasites must be counted under a microscope, it enables investigators to more rapidly screen inhibitors of sporozoite invasion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy