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Infect Immun. 2019 Mar 25;87(4). pii: e00716-18. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00716-18. Print 2019 Apr.

Moderately Neutralizing Epitopes in Nonfunctional Regions Dominate the Antibody Response to Plasmodium falciparum EBA-140.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
2
Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA.
3
Department of Chemistry, Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA.
4
Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA niraj.tolia@nih.gov.
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Contributed equally

Abstract

Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte-binding antigen 140 (EBA-140) plays a role in tight junction formation during parasite invasion of red blood cells and is a potential vaccine candidate for malaria. Individuals in areas where malaria is endemic possess EBA-140-specific antibodies, and individuals with high antibody titers to this protein have a lower rate of reinfection by parasites. The red blood cell binding segment of EBA-140 is comprised of two Duffy-binding-like domains, called F1 and F2, that together create region II. The sialic acid-binding pocket of F1 is essential for binding, whereas the sialic acid-binding pocket in F2 appears dispensable. Here, we show that immunization of mice with the complete region II results in poorly neutralizing antibodies. In contrast, immunization of mice with the functionally relevant F1 domain of region II results in antibodies that confer a 2-fold increase in parasite neutralization compared to that of the F2 domain. Epitope mapping of diverse F1 and F2 monoclonal antibodies revealed that the functionally relevant F1 sialic acid-binding pocket is a privileged site inaccessible to antibodies, that the F2 sialic acid-binding pocket contains a nonneutralizing epitope, and that two additional epitopes reside in F1 on the opposite face from the sialic acid-binding pocket. These studies indicate that focusing the immune response to the functionally important F1 sialic acid binding pocket improves the protective immune response of EBA-140. These results have implications for improving future vaccine designs and emphasize the importance of structural vaccinology for malaria.

KEYWORDS:

Plasmodium falciparum ; antibody function; epitope; immunogen design; malaria; structural vaccinology; three-dimensional structure; vaccines

PMID:
30642904
PMCID:
PMC6434137
[Available on 2019-09-25]
DOI:
10.1128/IAI.00716-18
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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