Immunological cross-reactivity between malaria vaccine target antigen P48/45 in plasmodium vivax and P. falciparum and cross-boosting of immune responses

Yi Cao, Geetha P. Bansal, Kristen Merino, Nirbhay Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In general, malaria immunity has been suggested to be species specific with very little, if any, known cross-reactivity between Plasmodium vivax and P. falciparum, both of which are responsible for >90% of human malaria, and co-endemic in many countries. It is therefore believed that species-specific immunity may be needed to target different species of Plasmodium. Pfs48/45 and Pvs48/45 are well established targets in the sexual stages of the malaria parasites, and are being pursued for the development of transmission blocking vaccines. Comparison of their sequences reveals 61% and 55% identity at the DNA and protein level, respectively raising the possibility that these two target antigens might share cross-reacting epitopes. Having succeeded in expressing recombinant Pfs48/45 and Pvs48/45 proteins, we hypothesized that these proteins will not only exhibit immunological cross-reactivity but also cross-boost immune responses. Mice were immunized with purified recombinant proteins using CFA, Montanide ISA-51 and alum as adjuvants, and the sera were analyzed by ELISA, Western blotting and indirect fixed and live IFA to address the hypothesis. Our studies revealed that Pvs48/45-immune sera showed strong crossreactivity to full length Pfs48/45 protein, and the majority of this cross reactivity was in the amino-terminal and carboxyl-terminal sub-fragments of Pfs48/45. In cross-boosting experiments Pfs48/45 and Pvs48/45 antigens were able to cross-boost each other in mouse immunization studies. Additionally we also noticed an effect of adjuvants in the overall magnitude of observed cross-reactivity. These studies may have significant implications for immunity targeting transmission of both the species of malaria parasites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0158212
JournalPloS one
Volume11
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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