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PLoS One. 2011;6(12):e29025. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029025. Epub 2011 Dec 12.

Antibodies against PfEMP1, RIFIN, MSP3 and GLURP are acquired during controlled Plasmodium falciparum malaria infections in naïve volunteers.

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Department of International Health, Centre for Medical Parasitology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Antibodies to polymorphic antigens expressed during the parasites erythrocytic stages are important mediators of protective immunity against P. falciparum malaria. Therefore, polymorphic blood stage antigens like MSP3, EBA-175 and GLURP and variant surface antigens PfEMP1 and RIFIN are considered vaccine candidates. However, to what extent these antibodies to blood stage antigens are acquired during naive individuals' first infections has not been studied in depth. Using plasma samples collected from controlled experimental P. falciparum infections we show that antibodies against variant surface antigens, PfEMP1 and RIFIN as well as MSP3 and GLURP, are acquired during a single short low density P. falciparum infection in non-immune individuals including strain transcendent PfEMP1 immune responses. These data indicate that the immunogenicity of the variant surface antigens is similar to the less diverse merozoite antigens. The acquisition of a broad and strain transcendent repertoire of PfEMP1 antibodies may reflect a parasite strategy of expressing most or all PfEMP1 variants at liver release optimizing the likelihood of survival and establishment of chronic infections in the new host.

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