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Infect Immun. 2011 Oct;79(10):4260-75. doi: 10.1128/IAI.05214-11. Epub 2011 Aug 1.

Tricomponent immunopotentiating system as a novel molecular design strategy for malaria vaccine development.

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Molecular Microbiology Group, Tropical Biosphere Research Center, COMB, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa Japan.


The creation of subunit vaccines to prevent malaria infection has been hampered by the intrinsically weak immunogenicity of the recombinant antigens. We have developed a novel strategy to increase immune responses by creating genetic fusion proteins to target specific antigen-presenting cells (APCs). The fusion complex was composed of three physically linked molecular entities: (i) a vaccine antigen, (ii) a multimeric α-helical coiled-coil core, and (iii) an APC-targeting ligand linked to the core via a flexible linker. The vaccine efficacy of the tricomponent complex was evaluated using an ookinete surface protein of Plasmodium vivax, Pvs25, and merozoite surface protein-1 of Plasmodium yoelii. Immunization of mice with the tricomponent complex induced a robust antibody response and conferred substantial levels of P. vivax transmission blockade as evaluated by a membrane feed assay, as well as protection from lethal P. yoelii infection. The observed effect was strongly dependent on the presence of all three components physically integrated as a fusion complex. This system, designated the tricomponent immunopotentiating system (TIPS), onto which any recombinant protein antigens or nonproteinaceous substances could be loaded, may be a promising strategy for devising subunit vaccines or adjuvants against various infectious diseases, including malaria.

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