[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: MSP1 is the major surface protein on merozoites and a prime candidate for a blood stage malaria vaccine. Preclinical and seroepidemiological studies have implicated antibodies to MSP1 in protection against blood stage parasitaemia and/or reduced parasite densities, respectively. Malaria endemic areas have multiple strains of Plasmodium falciparum circulating at any given time, giving rise to complex immune responses, an issue which is generally not addressed in clinical trials conducted in non-endemic areas. A lack of understanding of the effect of pre-existing immunity to heterologous parasite strains may significantly contribute to vaccine failure in the field. The purpose of this study was to model the effect of pre-existing immunity to MSP142 on the immunogenicity of blood-stage malaria vaccines based on alternative MSP1 alleles. METHODS: Inbred and outbred mice were immunized with various recombinant P. falciparum MSP142 proteins that represent the two major alleles of MSP142, MAD20 (3D7) and Wellcome (K1, FVO). Humoral immune responses were analysed by ELISA and LuminexTM, and functional activity of induced MSP142-specific antibodies was assessed by growth inhibition assays. Tcell responses were characterized using ex vivo ELISpot assays. RESULTS: Analysis of the immune responses induced by various immunization regimens demonstrated a strong allele-specific response at the T cell level in both inbred and outbred mice. The success of heterologous regimens depended on the degree of homology of the N-terminal p33 portion of the MSP142, likely due to the fact that most T cell epitopes reside in this part of the molecule. Analysis of humoral immune responses revealed a marked cross-reactivity between the alleles. Functional analyses showed that some of the heterologous regimens induced antibodies with improved growth inhibitory activities. CONCLUSION: The development of a more broadly efficacious MSP1 based vaccine may be hindered by clonally imprinted p33 responses mainly restricted at the T cell level. In this study, the homology of the p33 sequence between the clonally imprinted response and the vaccine allele determines the magnitude of vaccine induced responses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inclusion of affinity tags has greatly facilitated process development for protein antigens, primarily for their recovery from complex mixtures. Although generally viewed as supportive of product development, affinity tags may have unintended consequences on protein solubility, susceptibility to aggregation, and immunogenicity. Merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1), an erythrocytic stage protein of Plasmodium falciparum and a candidate malaria vaccine, was used to evaluate the impact of a metal ion affinity-tag on both protein structure and the induction of immunity. To this end, codon harmonized gene sequences from the P. falciparum MSP1(42) of FVO and 3D7 parasites were cloned and purified with and without a histidine (His) tag. We report on the influence of His-affinity tags on protein expression levels, solubility, secondary structure, thermal denaturation, aggregation and the impact on humoral and cellular immune responses in mice. While the overall immunogenicity induced by His-tagged MSP1(42) proteins is greater, the fine specificity of the humoral and cellular immune responses is altered relative to anti-parasitic antibody activity and the breadth of T-cell responses. Thus, the usefulness of protein tags may be outweighed by their potential impact on structure and function, stressing the need for caution in their use. See accompanying commentary by Randolph DOI: 10.1002/biot.201100459.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over the past two decades, prokaryotic expression systems have been widely exploited for the bioproduction of many therapeutic proteins. Much of the success can be attributed to the implementation of basic principles of prokaryotic protein translation and protein folding to the problems of heterologous expression (e.g. codon usage substitutions, tRNA isoacceptor co-expression, chaperone co-expression); however, expression in a heterologous host still remains an empirical process. To improve heterologous protein expression further we have developed an algorithm termed "codon harmonization" that best approximates codon usage frequencies from the native host and adjusts these for use in the heterologous system. The success of this methodology may be due to improved protein folding during translation. Although so far exclusively applied to Escherichia coli, codon harmonization may provide a general strategy for improving the expression of soluble, functional proteins during heterologous host expression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Plasmodium protein Cell-traversal protein for ookinetes and sporozoites (CelTOS) plays an important role in cell traversal of host cells in both, mosquito and vertebrates, and is required for successful malaria infections. CelTOS is highly conserved among the Plasmodium species, suggesting an important functional role across all species. Therefore, targeting the immune response to this highly conserved protein and thus potentially interfering with its biological function may result in protection against infection even by heterologous species of Plasmodium.
To test this hypothesis, we developed a recombinant codon-harmonized P. falciparum CelTOS protein that can be produced to high yields in the E. coli expression system. Inbred Balb/c and outbred CD-1 mice were immunized with various doses of the recombinant protein adjuvanted with Montanide ISA 720 and characterized using in vitro and in vivo analyses.
Immunization with PfCelTOS resulted in potent humoral and cellular immune responses and most importantly induced sterile protection against a heterologous challenge with P. berghei sporozoites in a proportion of both inbred and outbred mice. The biological activity of CelTOS-specific antibodies against the malaria parasite is likely linked to the impairment of sporozoite motility and hepatocyte infectivity. The results underscore the potential of this antigen as a pre-erythrocytic vaccine candidate and demonstrate for the first time a malaria vaccine that is cross-protective between species.
PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(8):e12294. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antibodies are the main effectors against malaria blood-stage parasites. Evaluation of functional activities in immune sera from Phase 2a/b vaccine trials may provide invaluable information in the search for immune correlates of protection. However, the presence of anti-malarial-drugs, improper collection/storage conditions or concomitant immune responses against other pathogens can contribute to non-specific anti-parasite activities when the sera/plasma are tested in vitro. Purification of immunoglobulin is a standard approach for reducing such non-specific background activities, but the purification method itself can alter the quality and yield of recovered Ag-specific antibodies.
To address this concern, various immunoglobulin (Ig) purification methods (protein G Sepharose, protein A/G Sepharose, polyethylene glycol and caprylic acid-ammonium sulphate precipitation) were evaluated for their impact on the quality, quantity and functional activity of purified rabbit and human Igs. The recovered Igs were analysed for yield and purity by SDS-PAGE, for quality by Ag-specific ELISAs (determining changes in titer, avidity and isotype distribution) and for functional activity by in vitro parasite growth inhibition assay (GIA).
This comparison demonstrated that overall polyethylene glycol purification of human serum/plasma samples and protein G Sepharose purification of rabbit sera are optimal for recovering functional Ag-specific antibodies.
Consequently, critical consideration of the purification method is required to avoid selecting non-representative populations of recovered Ig, which could influence interpretations of vaccine efficacy, or affect the search for immune correlates of protection.