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(1/453) High recombination rate in natural populations of Plasmodium falciparum.

Malaria parasites are sexually reproducing protozoa, although the extent of effective meiotic recombination in natural populations has been debated. If meiotic recombination occurs frequently, compared with point mutation and mitotic rearrangement, linkage disequilibrium between polymorphic sites is expected to decline with increasing distance along a chromosome. The rate of this decline should be proportional to the effective meiotic recombination rate in the population. Multiple polymorphic sites covering a 5-kb region of chromosome 9 (the msp1 gene) have been typed in 547 isolates from six populations in Africa to test for such a decline and estimate its rate in populations of Plasmodium falciparum. The magnitude of two-site linkage disequilibrium declines markedly with increasing molecular map distance between the sites, reaching nonsignificant levels within a map range of 0.3-1.0 kb in five of the populations and over a larger map distance in the population with lowest malaria endemicity. The rate of decline in linkage disequilibrium over molecular map distance is at least as rapid as that observed in most chromosomal regions of other sexually reproducing eukaryotes, such as humans and Drosophila. These results are consistent with the effective recombination rate expected in natural populations of P. falciparum, predicted on the basis of the underlying molecular rate of meiotic crossover and the coefficient of inbreeding caused by self-fertilization events. This is conclusive evidence to reject any hypothesis of clonality or low rate of meiotic recombination in P. falciparum populations. Moreover, the data have major implications for the design and interpretation of population genetic studies of selection on P. falciparum genes.  (+info)

(2/453) Expression of disulphide-bridge-dependent conformational epitopes and immunogenicity of the carboxy-terminal 19 kDa domain of Plasmodium yoelii merozoite surface protein-1 in live attenuated Salmonella vaccine strains.

The 19 kDa carboxy-terminal domain of Plasmodium yoelii merozoite surface protein-1 (MSP1(19)) was expressed in Salmonella vaccine strains as a carboxy-terminal fusion to fragment C of tetanus toxin (TetC). This study demonstrates that antibodies that recognize disulphide-dependent conformational epitopes in native MSP1 react with the TetC-MSP1(19) fusion protein expressed in Salmonella. The proper folding of MSP1(19) polypeptide is dependent on both the Salmonella host strain and the protein to which the MSP1(19) polypeptide is fused. Serum from mice immunized with Salmonella typhimurium C5aroD expressing TetC-MSP1(19) recognized native MSP1 as shown by immunofluorescence with P. yoelii-infected erythrocytes. Antibody levels to MSP1(19) were highest in out-bred mice immunized with S. typhimurium C5aroD carrying pTECH2-MSP1(19) and antibody was mostly directed against reduction-sensitive conformational epitopes. However, antibody levels were lower than in BALB/c mice immunized with a glutathione S-transferase (GST)-MSP1(19) fusion protein in Freund's adjuvant, and which were protected against P. yoelii challenge infection. In challenge experiments with P. yoelii the Salmonella-immunized mice were not protected, probably reflecting the magnitude of the antibody response. The results of this study have important implications in the design of live multivalent bacterial vaccines against eukaryotic pathogens.  (+info)

(3/453) Levels of antibody to conserved parts of Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein 1 in Ghanaian children are not associated with protection from clinical malaria.

The 19-kDa conserved C-terminal part of the Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein 1 (PfMSP119) is a malaria vaccine candidate antigen, and human antibody responses to PfMSP119 have been associated with protection against clinical malaria. In this longitudinal study carried out in an area of stable but seasonal malaria transmission with an estimated parasite inoculation of about 20 infective bites/year, we monitored 266 3- to 15-year-old Ghanaian children clinically and parasitologically over a period of 18 months. Blood samples were collected at the beginning of the study before the major malaria season in April and after the season in November. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, we measured antibody responses to recombinant gluthathione S-transferase-PfMSP119 fusion proteins corresponding to the Wellcome and MAD20 allelic variants in these samples. Prevalence of antibodies recognizing the Wellcome 19 construct containing both epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like motifs in Wellcome type PfMSP119 was about 30%. Prevalence of antibodies to constructs containing only the first EGF domain from either Wellcome or MAD20 type PfMSP119 was about 15%, whereas antibodies recognizing a construct containing only the second EGF domain of MAD20 type PfMSP119 was found in only about 4% of the donors. Neither the prevalence nor the levels of any of the antibody specificities varied significantly with season, age, or sex. Significantly, and in contrast to previous reports from other parts of West Africa, we found no evidence of an association between antibody responses to PfMSP119 and clinical protection against malaria.  (+info)

(4/453) The crystal structure of C-terminal merozoite surface protein 1 at 1.8 A resolution, a highly protective malaria vaccine candidate.

The C-terminal proteolytic processing product of merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1) appears essential for successful erythrocyte invasion by the malarial parasite, Plasmodium. We have determined the crystal structure at 1.8 A resolution of a soluble baculovirus-recombinant form of the protein from P. cynomolgi, which confers excellent protective efficacy in primate vaccination trials. The structure comprises two EGF-like domains, and sequence comparisons strongly suggest that the same conformation is present in all species of Plasmodium, including P. falciparum and P. vivax, which are pathogenic in man. In particular, conserved interdomain contacts between the two EGF modules should preserve the compact form of the molecule in all species. Implications of the crystal structure for anti-malarial vaccine development are discussed.  (+info)

(5/453) Plasmodium falciparum subtilisin-like protease 2, a merozoite candidate for the merozoite surface protein 1-42 maturase.

The process of human erythrocyte invasion by Plasmodium falciparum parasites involves a calcium-dependent serine protease with properties consistent with a subtilisin-like activity. This enzyme achieves the last crucial maturation step of merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1) necessary for parasite entry into the host erythrocyte. In eukaryotic cells, such processing steps are performed by subtilisin-like maturases, known as proprotein convertases. In an attempt to characterize the MSP1 maturase, we have identified a gene that encodes a P. falciparum subtilisin-like protease (PfSUB2) whose deduced active site sequence resembles more bacterial subtilisins. Therefore, we propose that PfSUB2 belongs to a subclass of eukaryotic subtilisins different from proprotein convertases. Pfsub2 is expressed during merozoite differentiation and encodes an integral membrane protein localized in the merozoite dense granules, a secretory organelle whose contents are believed to participate in a late step of the erythrocyte invasion. PfSUB2's subcellular localization, together with its predicted enzymatic properties, leads us to propose that PfSUB2 could be responsible for the late MSP1 maturation step and thus is an attractive target for the development of new antimalarial drugs.  (+info)

(6/453) Cellular responses to Plasmodium falciparum major surface antigens and their relationship to human activities associated with malaria transmission.

In Brazil, two types of activities have led to the worsening of malarial transmission in the Amazon region: prospecting/mining and agricultural settlements. In the present study, we analyze the cellular response of 52 of these individuals (14 gold-miners and 38 farmers) living within the same endemic area. Two Plasmodium falciparum major surface antigens (recombinant proteins) were used for cellular proliferative assays: circumsporozoite protein and merozoite surface protein-1. The frequency of these cellular responses were significantly higher among the miners (57-64%) than the farmers (10-20%) when either recombinant protein was used. Our data suggest that a higher exposure to malaria of the gold-miners contributed to their higher in vitro cellular response compared with the farmers. These findings point the way to further studies evaluating the influence of risk factors associated with the life styles of different social groups and the immune responses to these antigens.  (+info)

(7/453) Absolute requirement for an active immune response involving B cells and Th cells in immunity to Plasmodium yoelii passively acquired with antibodies to the 19-kDa carboxyl-terminal fragment of merozoite surface protein-1.

Vaccination of mice with the leading malaria vaccine candidate homologue, the 19-kDa carboxyl terminus of merozoite surface protein-1 (MSP119), results in sterile immunity to Plasmodium yoelii, with no parasites detected in blood. Although such immunity depends upon high titer Abs at challenge, high doses of immune sera transferred into naive mice reduce parasitemia (and protect from death) but do not result in a similar degree of protection (with most mice experiencing high peak parasitemias); this finding suggests that ongoing parasite-specific immune responses postchallenge are essential. We analyzed this postchallenge response by transferring Abs into manipulated but malaria-naive mice and observed that Abs cannot protect SCID, nude, CD4+ T cell-depleted, or B cell knockout mice, with all mice dying. Thus, in addition to the Abs that develop following MSP119 vaccination, a continuing active immune response postchallenge is required for protection. MSP119-specific Abs can adoptively transfer protection to strains of mice that are not protected following vaccination with MSP119, suggesting that the Ags targeted by the immune response postchallenge include Ags apart from MSP119. These data have important implications for the development of a human malaria vaccine.  (+info)

(8/453) Cloning and characterization of the merozoite surface antigen 1 gene of Plasmodium berghei.

Merozoite surface antigen 1 (MSA1) is a promising candidate for vaccine development against malaria parasites. Here, we report the complete nucleotide sequence of the gene encoding the precursor to this major surface antigen of Plasmodium berghei strain ANKA using cDNA library screening and polymerase chain reaction techniques. A single open reading frame of 5,376 basepairs encoding a protein with a calculated molecular mass of 197 kD was defined. The protein contains a putative signal peptide of 19 amino acids, a membrane anchor sequence of 18 residues, and shows two epidermal growth factor-like domains rich in Cys residues at the C-terminus. There are four repeat sequences of oligopeptides in the molecule: tetrapeptide (Ser-Thr-Thr-Thr), tripeptide (Pro-Thr-Pro and Pro-Ala-Ala), and dipeptide (Ser-Gly). Furthermore, three nine-residue stretches of a motif (Ala-Ser-Asn-Pro-Gly-Ala-Ser-Ala-Ser) are located near each other. All of these repeat sequences are unexceptionally located in the variable regions when compared with other MSA1 molecules. The molecule displays 79% overall identity to the analogous antigen of P. yoelii yoelii strain YM, 70% to that of P. chabaudi chabaudi strain AS, and 38% to that of P. falciparum strain Wellcome.  (+info)