The sporozoite form of Plasmodium falciparum displays on its surface the circumsporozoite (CS) protein. The central domain of this protein possesses a reiterated tetrapeptide sequence Asn‐Ala‐Asn‐Pro (NANP), and > 90% of the sporozoite‐specific antibodies obtained from individuals living in malaria endemic areas recognize epitopes within this repeat sequence. Considering the highly repetitive structure of this naturally occurring antigen and its immunodominance, we were interested in analyzing the structural diversity of antibodies that bind to the (NANP)3 sequence. Molecular characterization of immunoglobulin heavy and light chain mRNA was performed for five hybridomas that produce antibodies with binding specificity for the dodecapeptide (NANP)3. These hybridomas were produced in BALB/c mice by inoculation with whole P. falciparum sporozoites. Sequence analysis and Northern blotting showed that for heavy chain, three hybridomas used VH elements that belong to the VHIX family and two to the VHJ558 family. Four different Vχ subgroups were represented among the light chains. Different D and Jχ segments are also utilized, while four heavy chain gene rearrangements involved the JH4 segment. These results indicated that multiple VH‐VL gene combinations can code for reactivity to the (NANP)3 sequence, demonstrating that the murine antibody response to this immunodominant region is structurally heterogeneous.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy