INFECTIOUS DISEASE: Antibodies to PfSEA-1 block parasite egress from RBCs and protect against malaria infection

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Abstract

Novel vaccines are urgently needed to reduce the burden of severe malaria. Using a differential whole-proteome screening method, we identifiedPlasmodium falciparumschizont egress antigen-1 (PfSEA-1), a 244-kilodalton parasite antigen expressed in schizont-infected red blood cells (RBCs). Antibodies to PfSEA-1 decreased parasite replication by arresting schizont rupture, and conditional disruption of PfSEA-1 resulted in a profound parasite replication defect. Vaccination of mice with recombinantPlasmodium bergheiPbSEA-1 significantly reduced parasitemia and delayed mortality after lethal challenge with thePlasmodium bergheistrain ANKA. Tanzanian children with antibodies to recombinant PfSEA-1A (rPfSEA-1A) did not experience severe malaria, and Kenyan adolescents and adults with antibodies to rPfSEA-1A had significantly lower parasite densities than individuals without these antibodies. By blocking schizont egress, PfSEA-1 may synergize with other vaccines targeting hepatocyte and RBC invasion.

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