Antigenicity and immunogenicity of Plasmodium vivax merozoite surface protein-3.
ABSTRACT: A recent clinical trial in African children demonstrated the potential utility of merozoite surface protein (MSP)-3 as a vaccine against Plasmodium falciparum malaria. The present study evaluated the use of Plasmodium vivax MSP-3 (PvMSP-3) as a target antigen in vaccine formulations against malaria caused by P. vivax. Recombinant proteins representing MSP-3? and MSP-3? of P. vivax were expressed as soluble histidine-tagged bacterial fusions. Antigenicity during natural infection was evaluated by detecting specific antibodies using sera from individuals living in endemic areas of Brazil. A large proportion of infected individuals presented IgG antibodies to PvMSP-3? (68.2%) and at least 1 recombinant protein representing PvMSP-3? (79.1%). In spite of the large responder frequency, reactivity to both antigens was significantly lower than was observed for the immunodominant epitope present on the 19-kDa C-terminal region of PvMSP-1. Immunogenicity of the recombinant proteins was studied in mice in the absence or presence of different adjuvant formulations. PvMSP-3?, but not PvMSP-3?, induced a TLR4-independent humoral immune response in the absence of any adjuvant formulation. The immunogenicity of the recombinant antigens were also tested in formulations containing different adjuvants (Alum, Salmonella enterica flagellin, CpG, Quil A,TiterMax® and incomplete Freunds adjuvant) and combinations of two adjuvants (Alum plus flagellin, and CpG plus flagellin). Recombinant PvMSP-3? and PvMSP-3? elicited higher antibody titers capable of recognizing P. vivax-infected erythrocytes harvested from malaria patients. Our results confirm that P. vivax MSP-3 antigens are immunogenic during natural infection, and the corresponding recombinant proteins may be useful in elucidating their vaccine potential.
Project description:The 42- and 19-kDa C-terminal fragments of merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP-1(42) and MSP-1(19), respectively) are both promising blood-stage vaccine candidate antigens. At present, it is not clear which of the two antigens will be more suitable for inclusion in a cocktail malaria vaccine. In the present study, we expressed the two C-terminal fragments of Plasmodium vivax MSP-1 (PvMSP-1) in an Escherichia coli expression system and purified them by using a rapid two-step protocol. Both of the products were recognized by monoclonal antibodies against PvMSP-1 as well as by immune sera from several individuals exposed to P. vivax. We analyzed and compared the immunological responses to recombinant PvMSP-1(19) and PvMSP-1(42) in mice by using six different adjuvant formulations. Moderate to high antibody responses were observed with both of the antigens in different adjuvant formulations. Surprisingly, alum, which is generally considered to be a poor adjuvant for recombinant malaria antigens, was found to be as good an adjuvant as Montanide ISA 720, ASO2A, and other adjuvant formulations. Most adjuvant formulations induced high levels of immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1), followed by IgG3 and IgG2. Lymphocytes from animals in the PvMSP-1(42)- and PvMSP-1(19)-immunized groups showed proliferative responses upon stimulation with the respective antigens, and high levels of interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-5, and gamma interferon were detected in the culture supernatants. Immunodepletion studies with sera from mice immunized with these two antigens showed that while immunization with PvMSP-1(42) does produce a PvMSP-1(19)-specific response, a substantial portion is also focused on structures in PvMSP-1(42) not represented by the epidermal growth factor-like domains of PvMSP-1(19). These findings may have implications for the design of MSP-1-based vaccine constructs.
Project description:In a recent vaccine trial performed with African children, immunization with a recombinant protein based on Plasmodium falciparum apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA-1) conferred a significant degree of strain-specific resistance against malaria. To contribute to the efforts of generating a vaccine against Plasmodium vivax malaria, we expressed the ectodomain of P. vivax AMA-1 (PvAMA-1) as a secreted soluble protein in the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris. Recognized by a high percentage of sera from individuals infected by P. vivax, this recombinant protein was found to have maintained its antigenicity. The immunogenicity of this protein was evaluated in mice using immunization protocols that included homologous and heterologous prime-boost strategies with plasmid DNA and recombinant protein. We used the following formulations containing different adjuvants: aluminum salts (Alum), Bordetella pertussis monophosphoryl lipid A (MPLA), flagellin FliC from Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, saponin Quil A, or incomplete Freund's adjuvant (IFA). The formulations containing the adjuvants Quil A or IFA elicited the highest IgG antibody titers. Significant antibody titers were also obtained using a formulation developed for human use containing MPLA or Alum plus MPLA. Recombinant PvAMA-1 produced under "conditions of good laboratory practice" provided a good yield, high purity, low endotoxin levels, and no microbial contaminants and reproduced the experimental immunizations. Most relevant for vaccine development was the fact that immunization with PvAMA-1 elicited invasion-inhibitory antibodies against different Asian isolates of P. vivax. Our results show that AMA-1 expressed in P. pastoris is a promising antigen for use in future preclinical and clinical studies.
Project description:Plasmodium vivax is the most widely distributed human malaria parasite and accounts for approximately the same number of malaria cases as Plasmodium falciparum in India. Compared with P. falciparum, P. vivax is difficult to eradicate because of its tendency to cause relapses, which impacts treatment and control strategies. The genetic diversity of these parasites, particularly of the merozoite surface protein-3 alpha (msp-3?) gene, can be used to help develop a potential vaccine. The present study aimed to investigate the genetic diversity of P. vivax using the highly polymorphic antigen gene msp-3? and to assess the suitability of using this gene for population genetic studies of P. vivax isolates and was carried out in 2004-06. No recent study has been reported for MSP 3? in the recent decade in India. Limited reports are available on the genetic diversity of the P. vivax population in India; hence, this report aimed to improve the understanding of the molecular epidemiology of the parasite by studying the P. vivax msp-3? (Pvmsp-3?) marker from P. vivax field isolates from India.Field isolates were collected from different sites distributed across eight states in India. A total of 182 blood samples were analysed by a nested polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) technique using the HhaI and AluI restriction enzymes to determine genetic msp-3? variation among clinical P. vivax isolates.Based on the length variants of the PCR products of Pvmsp-3? gene, three allele sizes, Type A (1.8 kb), Type B (1.5 kb) and Type C (1.2 kb) were detected among the 182 samples. Type A PCR amplicon was more predominant (75.4 %) in the samples compared with the Type B (14.3 %) and Type C (10.0 %) polymorphisms. Among all of the samples analysed, 8.2 % were mixed infections detected by PCR alone. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis involving the restriction enzymes AluI and HhaI generated fragment sizes that were highly polymorphic and revealed substantial diversity at the nucleotide level.The present study is the first extensive study in India using the Pvmsp-3? marker. The results indicated that Pvmps-3?, a polymorphic genetic marker of P. vivax, exhibited considerable variability in infection prevalence in field isolates from India. Additionally, the mean multiplicity of infection observed at all of the study sites indicated that P. vivax is highly diverse in nature in India, and Pvmsp-3? is likely an effective and promising epidemiological marker.
Project description:A completely effective vaccine for malaria (one of the major infectious diseases worldwide) is not yet available; different membrane proteins involved in parasite-host interactions have been proposed as candidates for designing it. It has been found that proteins encoded by the merozoite surface protein (msp)-7 multigene family are antibody targets in natural infection; the nucleotide diversity of three Pvmsp-7 genes was thus analyzed in a Colombian parasite population. By contrast with P. falciparum msp-7 loci and ancestral P. vivax msp-7 genes, specie-specific duplicates of the latter specie display high genetic variability, generated by single nucleotide polymorphisms, repeat regions, and recombination. At least three major allele types are present in Pvmsp-7C, Pvmsp-7H and Pvmsp-7I and positive selection seems to be operating on the central region of these msp-7 genes. Although this region has high genetic polymorphism, the C-terminus (Pfam domain ID: PF12948) is conserved and could be an important candidate when designing a subunit-based antimalarial vaccine.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The merozoite surface protein-3? of Plasmodium vivax (PvMSP-3?) is one of the candidate antigens for blood stage malaria vaccine development. The polymorphisms in PvMSP-3? have been reported in certain P. vivax isolates. However, the diversity of PvMSP-3? throughout its global distribution has not been well understood. In this study, the genetic diversity and the effects of natural selection in PvMSP-3? among P. vivax Korean isolates were analysed. METHODS: Blood samples were collected from 95 patients with vivax malaria in Korea. The region flanking full-length PvMSP-3? was amplified by polymerase chain reaction and cloned into a TA cloning vector. The PvMSP-3? sequence of each isolate was determined and the polymorphic characteristics and effects of natural selection were analysed using the DNASTAR, MEGA4, and DnaSP programs. RESULTS: Five different subtypes of PvMSP-3? were identified based on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), insertions, and deletions. Although a high level of sequence diversity was observed in the PvMSP-3? gene, the coiled-coil tertiary structure of the PvMSP-3? protein was well conserved in all of the sequences. The PvMSP-3? of Korean isolates is under natural selection. DNA polymerase slippage and intragenic recombination likely contributed to PvMSP-3? diversity in Korean P. vivax isolates. CONCLUSIONS: The PvMSP-3? of Korean P. vivax isolates displayed polymorphisms, with SNPs, insertions and deletions scattered throughout of the gene. These results of parasite heterogeneity are relevant to the development of a PvMSP-3? based vaccine against P. vivax and the implementation of malaria control programmes in Korea.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Vivax malaria is the predominant form of malaria outside Africa, affecting about 14 million people worldwide, with about 2.5 billion people exposed. Development of a Plasmodium vivax vaccine is a priority, and merozoite surface protein 7 (MSP-7) has been proposed as a plausible candidate. The P. vivax genome contains 12 MSP-7 genes, which contribute to erythrocyte invasion during blood-stage infection. Previous analysis of MSP-7 sequence diversity suggested that not all paralogs are functionally equivalent. To explore MSP-7 functional diversity, and to identify the best vaccine candidate within the family, MSP-7 expression and antigenicity during bloodstream infections were examined directly from clinical isolates. METHODS:Merozoite surface protein 7 gene expression was profiled using RNA-seq data from blood samples isolated from ten human patients with vivax malaria. Differential expression analysis and co-expression cluster analysis were used to relate PvMSP-7 expression to genetic markers of life cycle stage. Plasma from vivax malaria patients was also assayed using a custom peptide microarray to measure antibody responses against the coding regions of 12 MSP-7 paralogs. RESULTS:Ten patients presented diverse transcriptional profiles that comprised four patient groups. Two MSP-7 paralogs, 7A and 7F, were expressed abundantly in all patients, while other MSP-7 genes were uniformly rare (e.g. 7J). MSP-7H and 7I were significantly more abundant in patient group 4 only, (two patients having experienced longer patency), and were co-expressed with a schizont-stage marker, while negatively associated with liver-stage and gametocyte-stage markers. Screening infections with a PvMSP-7 peptide array identified 13 linear B-cell epitopes in five MSP-7 paralogs that were recognized by plasma from all patients. CONCLUSIONS:These results show that MSP-7 family members vary in expression profile during blood infections; MSP-7A and 7F are expressed throughout the intraerythrocytic development cycle, while expression of other paralogs is focused on the schizont. This may reflect developmental regulation, and potentially functional differentiation, within the gene family. The frequency of B-cell epitopes among paralogs also varies, with MSP-7A and 7L consistently the most immunogenic. Thus, MSP-7 paralogs cannot be assumed to have equal potential as vaccines. This analysis of clinical infections indicates that the most abundant and immunogenic paralog is MSP-7A.
Project description:The 42-kDa fragment of the merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP-1(42)) is a leading candidate for the development of a vaccine to control malaria. We previously reported a method for the production of Plasmodium vivax MSP-1(42) (PvMSP-1(42)) as a soluble protein (S. Dutta, L. W. Ware, A. Barbosa, C. F. Ockenhouse, and D. E. Lanar, Infect. Immun. 69:5464-5470, 2001). We report here a process to manufacture the same PvMSP-1(42) protein but as an insoluble inclusion body-derived protein which was then refolded in vitro. We compared the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of the soluble and refolded forms of PvMSP-1(42) protein by using a heterologous but closely related P. cynomolgi-rhesus monkey challenge model. As comparative controls we also expressed, purified, and immunized rhesus with the soluble and refolded forms of the P. cynomolgi MSP-1(42) (PcMSP-1(42)) proteins. All proteins induced equally high-titer, cross-reacting antibodies. Upon challenge with P. cynomolgi, none of the MSP-1(42)-vaccinated groups demonstrated sterile protection or a delay in the prepatent period. However, following an initial rise in parasitemia, all MSP-1-vaccinated animals had significantly lower parasite burdens as indicated by lower cumulative parasitemia, lower peak parasitemia, lower secondary peak parasitemia, and lower average daily parasitemia compared to the adjuvant control group (P < 0.05). Except the soluble PcMSP-1(42) group, monkeys in all other groups had fewer numbers of days with parasitemia of >10,000 parasites mm(-3). Interestingly, there was no significant difference in the level of partial protection observed in the homologous and heterologous groups in this challenge model. The soluble and refolded forms of PcMSP-1(42) and PvMSP-1(42) proteins also appeared to have a similar partially protective effect.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The msp-7 gene has become differentially expanded in the Plasmodium genus; Plasmodium vivax has the highest copy number of this gene, several of which encode antigenic proteins in merozoites. METHODS: DNA sequences from thirty-six Colombian clinical isolates from P. vivax (pv) msp-7E, -7F and -7L genes were analysed for characterizing and studying the genetic diversity of these pvmsp-7 members which are expressed during the intra-erythrocyte stage; natural selection signals producing the variation pattern so observed were evaluated. RESULTS: The pvmsp-7E gene was highly polymorphic compared to pvmsp-7F and pvmsp-7L which were seen to have limited genetic diversity; pvmsp-7E polymorphism was seen to have been maintained by different types of positive selection. Even though these copies seemed to be species-specific duplications, a search in the Plasmodium cynomolgi genome (P. vivax sister taxon) showed that both species shared the whole msp-7 repertoire. This led to exploring the long-term effect of natural selection by comparing the orthologous sequences which led to finding signatures for lineage-specific positive selection. CONCLUSIONS: The results confirmed that the P. vivax msp-7 family has a heterogeneous genetic diversity pattern; some members are highly conserved whilst others are highly diverse. The results suggested that the 3'-end of these genes encode MSP-7 proteins' functional region whilst the central region of pvmsp-7E has evolved rapidly. The lineage-specific positive selection signals found suggested that mutations occurring in msp-7s genes during host switch may have succeeded in adapting the ancestral P. vivax parasite population to humans.
Project description:Although Plasmodium vivax is a leading cause of malaria around the world, only a handful of vivax antigens are being studied for vaccine development. Here, we investigated genetic signatures of selection and geospatial genetic diversity of two leading vivax vaccine antigens--Plasmodium vivax merozoite surface protein 1 (pvmsp-1) and Plasmodium vivax circumsporozoite protein (pvcsp). Using scalable next-generation sequencing, we deep-sequenced amplicons of the 42 kDa region of pvmsp-1 (n?=?44) and the complete gene of pvcsp (n?=?47) from Cambodian isolates. These sequences were then compared with global parasite populations obtained from GenBank. Using a combination of statistical and phylogenetic methods to assess for selection and population structure, we found strong evidence of balancing selection in the 42 kDa region of pvmsp-1, which varied significantly over the length of the gene, consistent with immune-mediated selection. In pvcsp, the highly variable central repeat region also showed patterns consistent with immune selection, which were lacking outside the repeat. The patterns of selection seen in both genes differed from their P. falciparum orthologs. In addition, we found that, similar to merozoite antigens from P. falciparum malaria, genetic diversity of pvmsp-1 sequences showed no geographic clustering, while the non-merozoite antigen, pvcsp, showed strong geographic clustering. These findings suggest that while immune selection may act on both vivax vaccine candidate antigens, the geographic distribution of genetic variability differs greatly between these two genes. The selective forces driving this diversification could lead to antigen escape and vaccine failure. Better understanding the geographic distribution of genetic variability in vaccine candidate antigens will be key to designing and implementing efficacious vaccines.
Project description:Hainan Province is one of the most severe endemic regions with high transmission of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax in China. However, the incidence of P. falciparum and P. vivax has dropped dramatically since 2007 and a national elimination malaria programme (NEMP) was launched after 2010. To better understand the genetic information on P. vivax population before elimination of malaria in Hainan Province, the extent of genetic diversity of P. vivax isolates in Hainan Province was investigated using four polymorphic genetic markers, including P. vivax merozoite surface proteins 1, 3?, and 3? (pvmsp-1, pvmsp-3?, and pvmsp-3?) and circumsporozoite protein (pvcsp).Isolates of P. vivax (n?=?27) from Hainan Province were collected from 2009 to 2010 and pvmsp-1 and pvcsp were analysed by DNA sequencing, respectively. Using polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism were analysed in pvmsp-3?, and pvmsp-3?.The DNA sequencing analysis on pvmsp1 revealed that there were three allele types: Salvador-1 (Sal-1), Belem and recombinant (R) types. Among them, Sal-1 type was a dominant strain with eight variant subtypes (88.9%), whereas R- (3.7%) and Belem-type strains (7.4%) had one variant subtypes, respectively. All the isolates carried pvcsp with VK210 type accounting for 85.2% (23/27 isolates) and VK247 type accounting for 14.8% (4/27). Only type A and type B alleles were successfully amplified in pvmsp-3? gene, and a high level of polymorphism was observed in pvmsp-3?. Considering pvmsp-3? gene, type A was the predominant type in 17 isolates (63%), whereas type B was dominant in only ten isolates (37%).The present data indicate that there was high degree of genetic diversity among P. vivax population in Hainan Province of China during the pre-elimination stage of malaria, with 26 unique haplotypes observed among 27 samples.