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Immunization with Recombinant Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1 CIDRα1 Domains Induces Domain Subtype Inhibitory Antibodies

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Plasmodium falciparum malaria pathogenesis is tied to the sequestration of parasites in the microvasculature. Parasite sequestration leading to severe malaria is mediated by P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) binding to endothelial protein C receptor (EPCR) via its CIDRα1 domains. CIDRα1 domains are targets of naturally acquired immunity, and a vaccine eliciting antibodies inhibiting the EPCR binding of CIDRα1 could potentially prevent disease and death from malaria. CIDRα1 domains have diversified in sequence to escape immune recognition but preserved structure to maintain EPCR binding. The EPCR-binding CIDRα1 domains separate into six major sequence types predicted to form a conserved structure in which only the amino acids essential for EPCR binding are highly conserved. Here, we investigated whether antibodies elicited by vaccination with single or multiple recombinant CIDRα1 domains are able to bind and inhibit diverse CIDRα1 domains. We found that EPCR binding-inhibitory antibodies to CIDRα1 variants closely related to those used for vaccination are readily elicited, whereas antibodies binding distant CIDRα1 variants are sporadically generated and are rarely inhibitory. Despite this, sequence similarity correlated poorly with the ability of induced antibodies to inhibit across diverse variants, and no continuous sequence regions of importance for cross-inhibitory antibodies could be identified. This suggested that epitopes of cross-variant inhibitory antibodies were predominantly conformational. Vaccination with immunogens engineered to focus immune responses to specific epitopes or an optimal choice of multiple CIDRα1 variants may improve elicitation of broadly reactive and inhibitory antibody responses.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInfection and Immunity
Volume86
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)e00435-18
ISSN0019-9567
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

ID: 56467013