Published by: Stockholms universitet, ISSN:0264-410X,2011
The Plasmodium falciparum antigen 332 (Pf332), is a megadalton parasite protein expressed at the surface of infected red cells during later stages of the parasite's developmental cycle. Antibodies to different parts of this antigen have been shown to inhibit parasite growth and adherence to host cells with or without ancillary cells. However, the mechanisms involved in these inhibitions remain largely unknown.
We further analysed the activities of specific antibodies with regard to their specific mechanisms of action. For these analyses, affinity purified human antibodies against epitopes in the C-terminal fragment of Pf332 (Pf332-C231) were employed. All purified antibodies recognized Pf332-C231 both by immunofluorescence and ELISA. IgG was the main antibody isotype detected, although all sera investigated had varying proportions of IgG and IgM content.
All the antibodies showed a capacity to inhibit parasite growth in P. falciparum cultures to different extents, mainly by acting on the more mature parasite stages. Morphological analysis revealed the antibody effects to be characterized by the presence of a high proportion of abnormal schizonts (15-30%) and pyknotic parasites. There was also an apparent antibody effect on the red cell integrity, as many developing parasites (up to 10% of trophozoites and schizonts) were extracellular.
In some cases, the infected red cells appeared to be disintegrating/fading, staining paler than surrounding infected and uninfected cells. Antigen reversal of inhibition confirmed that these inhibitions were antigen specific. Furthermore, the growth of parasites after 22-42 h exposure to antibodies was investigated. Following the removal of antibody pressure, a decreased growth rate of these parasites was seen compared to that of control parasites.
The present study confirms the potential of Pf332 as a target antigen for parasite neutralizing antibodies, and further indicates that epitopes within the C231 region of Pf332 should constitute important tools in the dissection of the role of Pf332 in the biology of the malaria parasite, as well as in the design of a malaria vaccine.
|Verk av författare med samma namn, Halima A. Balogun
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