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Int J Mol Med. 1998 Jul;2(1):29-38.

In vitro expression and in vivo immunogenicity of Plasmodium falciparum pre-erythrocytic stage DNA vaccines.

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Malaria Program, Naval Medical Research Institute, Rockville, MD 20852, USA.


DNA vaccine plasmids were constructed that encoded four pre-erythrocytic antigens from the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum: circumsporozoite protein (PfCSP); sporozoite surface protein 2 (PfSSP2); carboxyl terminus of liver stage antigen 1 (PfLSA-1 c-term); and, exported protein 1 (PfExp-1). Antigen expression was evaluated in vitro by immunoblot analysis of tissue culture cells following transient transfection with each plasmid. Clearly detectable levels of expression depended upon, or were markedly enhanced by, fusion of the antigen encoding sequences in-frame with the initiation complex and peptide leader sequence of human tissue plasminogen activator protein. Mice injected with these plasmids produced antigen specific antibody and cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses. However, the magnitudes of the responses were not always predicted by the in vitro expression assay. The results of this study provided the basis for further testing of these plasmids in primates and the formulation of multi-component pre-erythrocytic DNA vaccines for efficacy testing in human volunteers.

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