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Parasitology. 2009 Oct;136(12):1445-56. doi: 10.1017/S0031182009990515. Epub 2009 Jul 23.

The carboxy-terminus of merozoite surface protein 1: structure, specific antibodies and immunity to malaria.

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Division of Parasitology, MRC National Institute for Medical Research, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London.


Over the last 30 years, evidence has been gathered suggesting that merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1) is a target of protective immunity against malaria. In a variety of experimental approaches using in vitro methodology, animal models and sero-epidemiological techniques, the importance of antibody against MSP1 has been established but we are still finding out what are the mechanisms involved. Now that clinical trials of MSP1 vaccines are underway and the early results have been disappointing, it is increasingly clear that we need to know more about the mechanisms of immunity, because a better understanding will highlight the limitations of our current assays and identify the improvements required. Understanding the structure of MSP1 will help us design and engineer better antigens that are more effective than the first generation of vaccine candidates. This review is focused on the carboxy-terminus of MSP1.

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