The circumsporozoite (CS) protein is a major malaria sporozoite surface antigen currently being considered as vaccine candidate. Plasmodium vivax CS (PvCS) protein comprises a dimorphic central repeat fragment flanked by conserved regions that contain functional domains involved in parasite invasion of host cells. The protein amino (N-terminal) flank has a cleavage region (region I), essential for proteolytic processing prior to parasite invasion of liver cells.
Significant progress has been recently achieved in the development of Plasmodium vivax challenge infections in humans, which are essential for vaccine and drug testing. With the goal of accelerating clinical development of malaria vaccines, the outcome of infections experimentally induced in naïve and semi-immune volunteers by infected mosquito bites was compared.
Protein ?-helical coiled coil structures that elicit antibody responses, which block critical functions of medically important microorganisms, represent a means for vaccine development. By using bioinformatics algorithms, a total of 50 antigens with ?-helical coiled coil motifs orthologous to Plasmodium falciparum were identified in the P. vivax genome. The peptides identified in silico were chemically synthesized; circular dichroism studies indicated partial or high ?-helical content. Antigenicity was evaluated using human sera samples from malaria-endemic areas of Colombia and Papua New Guinea. Eight of these fragments were selected and used to assess immunogenicity in BALB/c mice. ELISA assays indicated strong reactivity of serum samples from individuals residing in malaria-endemic regions and sera of immunized mice, with the ?-helical coiled coil structures. In addition, ex vivo production of IFN-? by murine mononuclear cells confirmed the immunogenicity of these structures and the presence of T-cell epitopes in the peptide sequences. Moreover, sera of mice immunized with four of the eight antigens recognized native proteins on blood-stage P. vivax parasites, and antigenic cross-reactivity with three of the peptides was observed when reacted with both the P. falciparum orthologous fragments and whole parasites. Results here point to the ?-helical coiled coil peptides as possible P. vivax malaria vaccine candidates as were observed for P. falciparum. Fragments selected here warrant further study in humans and non-human primate models to assess their protective efficacy as single components or assembled as hybrid linear epitopes.
Plasmodium vivax circumsporozoite (PvCS) protein is a major sporozoite surface antigen involved in parasite invasion of hepatocytes and is currently being considered as vaccine candidate. PvCS contains a dimorphic central repetitive fragment flanked by conserved regions that contain functional domains.
Plasmodium vivax circumsporozoite (CS) protein is a leading malaria vaccine candidate. We describe the characterization of specific immune responses induced in 21 malaria-naive volunteers vaccinated with long synthetic peptides derived from the CS protein formulated in Montanide ISA 720. Both antibody- and cell-mediated immune responses were analyzed. Antibodies were predominantly of IgG1 and IgG3 isotypes, recognized parasite proteins on the immunofluorescent antibody test, and partially blocked sporozoite invasion of hepatoma cell lines in vitro. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from most volunteers (94%) showed IFN-? production in vitro upon stimulation with both long signal peptide and short peptides containing CD8+ T-cell epitopes. The relatively limited sample size did not allow conclusions about HLA associations with the immune responses observed. In summary, the inherent safety and tolerability together with strong antibody responses, invasion blocking activity, and the IFN-? production induced by these vaccine candidates warrants further testing in a phase II clinical trial.
Plasmodium vivax circumsporozoite (CS) protein is a leading malaria vaccine candidate previously assessed in animals and humans. Here, combinations of three synthetic polypeptides corresponding to amino (N), central repeat (R), and carboxyl (C) regions of the CS protein formulated in Montanide ISA 720 or Montanide ISA 51 adjuvants were assessed for immunogenicity in rodents and primates. BALB/c mice and Aotus monkeys were divided into test and control groups and were immunized three times with doses of 50 and 100 ?g of vaccine or placebo. Antigen-specific antimalarial antibodies were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, immunofluorescent antibody test, and IFN-? responses by enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELIspot). Both vaccine formulations were highly immunogenic in both species. Mice developed better antibody responses against C and R polypeptides, whereas the N polypeptide was more immunogenic in monkeys. Anti-peptide antibodies remained detectable for several months and recognized native proteins on sporozoites. Differences between Montanide ISA 720 and Montanide ISA 51 formulations were not significant.
Approximately 170 million inhabitants of the American continent live at risk of malaria transmission. Although the continents contribution to the global malaria burden is small, at least 1-1.2 million malaria cases are reported annually. Sixty percent of the malaria cases occur in Brazil and the other 40% are distributed in 20 other countries of Central and South America. Plasmodium vivax is the predominant species (74.2%) followed by P. falciparum (25.7%) and P. malariae (0.1%), and no less than 10 Anopheles species have been identified as primary or secondary malaria vectors. Rapid deforestation and agricultural practices are directly related to increases in Anopheles species diversity and abundance, as well as in the number of malaria cases. Additionally, climate changes profoundly affect malaria transmission and are responsible for malaria epidemics in some regions of South America. Parasite drug resistance is increasing, but due to bio-geographic barriers there is extraordinary genetic differentiation of parasites with limited dispersion. Although the clinical spectrum ranges from uncomplicated to severe malaria cases, due to the generally low to middle transmission intensity, features such as severe anemia, cerebral malaria and other complications appear to be less frequent than in other endemic regions and asymptomatic infections are a common feature. Although the National Malaria Control Programs (NMCP) of different countries differ in their control activities these are all directed to reduce morbidity and mortality by using strategies like health promotion, vector control and impregnate bed nets among others. Recently, international initiatives such as the Malaria Control Program in Andean-country Border Regions (PAMAFRO) (implemented by the Andean Organism for Health (ORAS) and sponsored by The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM)) and The Amazon Network for the Surveillance of Antimalarial Drug Resistance (RAVREDA) (sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and several other partners), have made great investments for malaria control in the region. We describe here the current status of malaria in a non-Amazonian region comprising several countries of South and Central America participating in the Centro Latino Americano de Investigación en Malaria (CLAIM), an International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research (ICEMR) sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
The review covers the development of synthetic peptides as vaccine candidates for Plasmodium falciparum- and Plasmodium vivax-induced malaria from its beginning up to date and the concomitant progress of solid phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) that enables the production of long peptides in a routine fashion. The review also stresses the development of other complementary tools and actions in order to achieve the long sought goal of an efficacious malaria vaccine.
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