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Nature. 1988 Jul 21;334(6179):258-60.

Cytotoxic T cells specific for the circumsporozoite protein of Plasmodium falciparum.

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Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Malaria is initiated by the inoculation of a susceptible host with sporozoites from an infected mosquito. The sporozoites enter hepatocytes and develop for a period as exoerythrocyte or hepatic stage parasites. Vaccination with irradiated sporozoites can provide protective immunity and a recent study shows that this can also be conferred by immunization with a recombinant salmonella expressing only the circumsporozoite protein that normally covers the sporozoites. Protection against infection is likely to be mediated by cytotoxic CD8+ cells, as depletion of CD8+ T cells in a sporozoite-immunized animal can completely abrogate immunity. Here we demonstrate directly the existence of CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) that recognize the circumsporozoite protein. B10.BR mice immunized with sporozoites or with recombinant vaccinia virus expressing the CS protein of Plasmodium falciparum contain CTL that specifically kill L cell fibroblasts transfected with the gene encoding the same CS protein. The peptide epitope from the CS protein that is recognized by CTL from this strain of mice is from a variant region of the protein.

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