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Infect Immun. 2002 Aug;70(8):4471-6.

High-level expression of the malaria blood-stage vaccine candidate Plasmodium falciparum apical membrane antigen 1 and induction of antibodies that inhibit erythrocyte invasion.

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  • 1Department of Parasitology, Biomedical Primate Research Centre, 2280 GH Rijswijk, The Netherlands.

Erratum in

  • Infect Immun 2002 Oct;70(10):5901.


Apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA-1) is a highly promising malaria blood-stage vaccine candidate that has induced protection in rodent and nonhuman primate models of malaria. Authentic conformation of the protein appears to be essential for the induction of parasite-inhibitory antibody responses. Here we have developed a synthetic gene with adapted codon usage to allow expression of Plasmodium falciparum FVO strain AMA-1 (PfAMA-1) in Pichia pastoris. In addition, potential N-glycosylation sites were changed, exploiting the lack of conservation of these sites in Plasmodium, to obtain high-level secretion of a homogeneous product, suitable for scale-up according to current good manufacturing procedures. Purified PfAMA-1 displayed authentic antigenic properties, indicating that the amino acid changes had no deleterious effect on the conformation of the protein. High-titer antibodies, raised in rabbits, reacted strongly with homologous and heterologous P. falciparum by immunofluorescence. In addition, purified immunoglobulin G from immunized animals strongly inhibited invasion of red blood cells by homologous and, to a somewhat lesser extent, heterologous P. falciparum.

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