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Infect Immun. 2010 Feb;78(2):661-71. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00866-09. Epub 2009 Nov 30.

Alanine mutagenesis of the primary antigenic escape residue cluster, c1, of apical membrane antigen 1.

Author information

1
Department of Epitope Mapping, Division of Malaria Vaccine Development, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, 503 Robert Grant Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA. Sheetij.dutta@us.army.mil

Abstract

Antibodies against apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) inhibit invasion of Plasmodium merozoites into red cells, and a large number of single nucleotide polymorphisms on AMA1 allow the parasite to escape inhibitory antibodies. The availability of a crystal structure makes it possible to test protein engineering strategies to develop a monovalent broadly reactive vaccine. Previously, we showed that a linear stretch of polymorphic residues (amino acids 187 to 207), localized within the C1 cluster on domain 1, conferred the highest level of escape from inhibitory antibodies, and these were termed antigenic escape residues (AER). Here we test the hypothesis that immunodampening the C1 AER will divert the immune system toward more conserved regions. We substituted seven C1 AER of the FVO strain Plasmodium falciparum AMA1 with alanine residues (ALA). The resulting ALA protein was less immunogenic than the native protein in rabbits. Anti-ALA antibodies contained a higher proportion of cross-reactive domain 2 and domain 3 antibodies and had higher avidity than anti-FVO. No overall enhancement of cross-reactive inhibitory activity was observed when anti-FVO and anti-ALA sera were compared for their ability to inhibit invasion. Alanine mutations at the C1 AER had shifted the immune response toward cross-strain-reactive epitopes that were noninhibitory, refuting the hypothesis but confirming the importance of the C1 cluster as an inhibitory epitope. We further demonstrate that naturally occurring polymorphisms that fall within the C1 cluster can predict escape from cross-strain invasion inhibition, reinforcing the importance of the C1 cluster genotype for antigenic categorization and allelic shift analyses in future phase 2b trials.

PMID:
19948834
PMCID:
PMC2812209
DOI:
10.1128/IAI.00866-09
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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