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Infect Immun. 2006 Jun;74(6):3663-7.

The Babesia bovis merozoite surface antigen 1 hypervariable region induces surface-reactive antibodies that block merozoite invasion.

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  • 1Program in Vector-Borne Diseases, Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164-7040, USA.


A hypervariable region (HVR) previously identified in the carboxy-terminal one-third of the Babesia bovis variable merozoite surface antigen family was more extensively analyzed in merozoite surface antigen 1 (MSA-1) from 16 strains and isolates. The MSA-1 HVR is proline rich and contains three semiconserved motifs nearly identical to those described for the related family member MSA-2. Two MSA-1-specific monoclonal antibodies previously shown to be reactive with the merozoite surface bound to a recombinant construct encoding the HVR, indicating that the HVR is surface exposed and accessible to antibody binding. Importantly, these surface-reactive, HVR-specific monoclonal antibodies were capable of inhibiting merozoite infectivity of the host erythrocyte in vivo. The results indicate that the MSA-1 HVR is involved in erythrocyte invasion and suggest that selection of MSA-1 variants may be driven by invasion-blocking antibodies.

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