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Infect Immun. 2011 Mar;79(3):1143-52. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01034-10. Epub 2010 Dec 28.

Strain-transcending Fc-dependent killing of Plasmodium falciparum by merozoite surface protein 2 allele-specific human antibodies.

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  • 1Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Bellinzona, Switzerland.


It is widely accepted that antibody responses against the human parasitic pathogen Plasmodium falciparum protect the host from the rigors of severe malaria and death. However, there is a continuing need for the development of in vitro correlate assays of immune protection. To this end, the capacity of human monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies in eliciting phagocytosis and parasite growth inhibition via Fcγ receptor-dependent mechanisms was explored. In examining the extent to which sequence diversity in merozoite surface protein 2 (MSP2) results in the evasion of antibody responses, an unexpectedly high level of heterologous function was measured for allele-specific human antibodies. The dependence on Fcγ receptors for opsonic phagocytosis and monocyte-mediated antibody-dependent parasite inhibition was demonstrated by the mutation of the Fc domain of monoclonal antibodies against both MSP2 and a novel vaccine candidate, peptide 27 from the gene PFF0165c. The described flow cytometry-based functional assays are expected to be useful for assessing immunity in naturally infected and vaccinated individuals and for prioritizing among blood-stage antigens for inclusion in blood-stage vaccines.

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