[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The three members of the ring-infected erythrocyte surface antigen (RESA) proteins family share high sequence homologies, which impair the detection and assignment to one or another protein of some pathogenic processes inherent to Plasmodium falciparum malaria. The present study was intended to determine if the antibody and inflammatory responses of children living in a malaria-endemic area varied depending on the RESA-1, RESA-2 or RESA-3 proteins and the severity of the disease, two groups of severe and uncomplicated malaria cases being considered.
Two synthetic peptides representing predicted B cell epitopes were designed per RESA protein, all located outside of the 3′ and 5′ repetition blocks, in order to allow an antibody detection specific of each member of the family. Recombinant rRESA-1B and rRESA-3B proteins were also engineered. Two groups of Beninese children admitted to hospital in 2009 for either uncomplicated or severe malaria were compared for their plasma levels of IgG specifically recognizing each recombinant RESA protein or synthetic peptide, and for their plasma inflammatory cytokine levels (IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-10), taking into account host and parasite genetic factors.
The absence of IgG cross-reactivity between rRESA proteins and their protein carrier as well as between each RESA peptide and a non-epitopic RESA control peptide validated the use of the engineered recombinant proteins and peptides for the measurement of plasma IgG. Taking into account age, fever duration and parasitaemia, a multiple logistic regression performed on children clustered according to their antibody responses’ profiles concluded to an increased risk of severe malaria for P2 (representative of RESA-1) responders (P = 0.007). Increased IL-10 plasma levels were found in children harbouring multiclonal P. falciparum infections on the basis of the T1526G resa2 gene polymorphism (P = 0.004).
This study provided novel tools to dissect the seroreactivity against the three members of the RESA protein family and to describe its relation to protection against malaria. It suggested the measurement of plasma antibodies raised against specific peptides to serve as predictive immunologic markers for disease severity. Lastly, it reinforced previous observations linking the T1526G resa2 gene mutation to severe malaria.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein (PfEMP1), a family of adhesins of the falciparum species of the malaria parasite, is exposed on the surface of the infected erythrocyte. In general, only one PfEMP1 variant is expressed at a time but switching between variants occurs, changing both host-cell receptor specificity and serotype. The PfEMP1 variant VAR2CSA causes sequestration of infected erythrocytes in the intervillous spaces of the placenta via the glycosaminoglycan chondroitin sulphate A. This leads to pregnancy-associated malaria, which has severe consequences for the foetus and mother. The extra-cellular region of VAR2CSA comprises six DBL domains and a single CIDR domain. The C-terminal domain DBL6ε, the most polymorphic domain of VAR2CSA, has seven regions of high variability termed variable blocks (VB). Here we have determined the crystal structure of DBL6ε from the FCR3 parasite line and have compared it with the previously determined structure of that from the 3D7 line. We found significant differences particularly in the N-terminal region, which contains the first VB (VB1). Although DBL6ε is the most variable VAR2CSA domain, DBL6ε-FCR3 and DBL6ε-3D7 react with IgG purified from immune sera of pregnant women. Furthermore, IgG purified on one domain cross-reacts with the other, confirming the presence of cross-reactive epitopes. We also examined reactivity of immune sera to the four least variable VB (VB1, VB2, VB4, VB5) using peptides with the consensus sequence closest, in turn, to the FCR3 or 3D7 domain. These results provide new molecular insights into immune escape by parasites expressing the VAR2CSA variant.
No preview · Article · Feb 2013 · Journal of Molecular Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We studied all consensus sequences within the four least 'variable blocks' (VB) present in the DBL6ε domain of VAR2CSA, the protein involved in the adhesion of infected red blood cells by Plasmodium falciparum that causes the Pregnancy-Associated Malaria (PAM). Characterising consensus sequences with respect to recognition of antibodies and percentage of responders among pregnant women living in areas where P. falciparum is endemic allows the identification of the most antigenic sequences within each VB. When combining these consensus sequences among four serotypes from VB1 or VB5, the most often recognized ones are expected to induce pan-reactive antibodies recognizing VAR2CSA from all plasmodial strains. These sequences are of main interest in the design of an immunogenic molecule. Using a similar approach than for DBL6ε, we studied the five other DBL and the CIDRpam from VAR2CSA, and again identified VB segments with highly conserved consensus sequences. In addition, we identified consensus sequences in other var genes expressed by non-PAM parasites. This finding paves the way for vaccine design against other pathologies caused by P. falciparum.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A specific and sensitive serodiagnostic test for Mycobacterium ulcerans infection would greatly assist the diagnosis of Buruli ulcer and would also facilitate seroepidemiological surveys. By comparative genomics, we identified 45 potential M. ulcerans specific proteins, of which we were able to express and purify 33 in E. coli. Sera from 30 confirmed Buruli ulcer patients, 24 healthy controls from the same endemic region and 30 healthy controls from a non-endemic region in Benin were screened for antibody responses to these specific proteins by ELISA. Serum IgG responses of Buruli ulcer patients were highly variable, however, seven proteins (MUP045, MUP057, MUL_0513, Hsp65, and the polyketide synthase domains ER, AT propionate, and KR A) showed a significant difference between patient and non-endemic control antibody responses. However, when sera from the healthy control subjects living in the same Buruli ulcer endemic area as the patients were examined, none of the proteins were able to discriminate between these two groups. Nevertheless, six of the seven proteins showed an ability to distinguish people living in an endemic area from those in a non-endemic area with an average sensitivity of 69% and specificity of 88%, suggesting exposure to M. ulcerans. Further validation of these six proteins is now underway to assess their suitability for use in Buruli ulcer seroepidemiological studies. Such studies are urgently needed to assist efforts to uncover environmental reservoirs and understand transmission pathways of the M. ulcerans.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Placental malaria is a disease linked to the sequestration of Plasmodium falciparum infected red blood cells (IRBC) in the placenta, leading to reduced materno-fetal exchanges and to local inflammation. One of the virulence factors of P. falciparum involved in cytoadherence to chondroitin sulfate A, its placental receptor, is the adhesive protein VAR2CSA. Its localisation on the surface of IRBC makes it accessible to the immune system. VAR2CSA contains six DBL domains. The DBL6ε domain is the most variable. High variability constitutes a means for the parasite to evade the host immune response. The DBL6ε domain could constitute a very attractive basis for a vaccine candidate but its reported variability necessitates, for antigenic characterisations, identifying and classifying commonalities across isolates.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antibodies, particularly cytophilic IgG subclasses, with specificity for asexual blood stage antigens of Plasmodium falciparum, are thought to play an important role in acquired immunity to malaria. Evaluating such responses in longitudinal sero-epidemiological field studies, allied to increasing knowledge of the immunological mechanisms associated with anti-malarial protection, will help in the development of malaria vaccines.
We conducted a 1-year follow-up study of 305 Senegalese children and identified those resistant or susceptible to malaria. In retrospective analyses we then compared post-follow-up IgG responses to six asexual-stage candidate malaria vaccine antigens in groups of individuals with clearly defined clinical and parasitological histories of infection with P. falciparum. In age-adjusted analyses, children resistant to malaria as well as to high-density parasitemia, had significantly higher IgG1 responses to GLURP and IgG3 responses to MSP2 than their susceptible counterparts. Among those resistant to malaria, high anti-MSP1 IgG1 levels were associated with protection against high-density parasitemia. To assess functional attributes, we used an in vitro parasite growth inhibition assay with purified IgG. Samples from individuals with high levels of IgG directed to MSP1, MSP2 and AMA1 gave the strongest parasite growth inhibition, but a marked age-related decline was observed in these effects.
Our data are consistent with the idea that protection against P. falciparum malaria in children depends on acquisition of a constellation of appropriate, functionally active IgG subclass responses directed to multiple asexual stage antigens. Our results suggest at least two distinct mechanisms via which antibodies may exert protective effects. Although declining with age, the growth inhibitory effects of purified IgG measurable in vitro reflected levels of anti-AMA1, -MSP1 and -MSP2, but not of anti-GLURP IgG. The latter could act on parasite growth via indirect parasiticidal pathways.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Co-infection with malaria and HIV in pregnant women is particularly common in sub-Saharan Africa and has serious consequences for both mother and newborn child. Numerous studies have been published on the effects in pregnancy of HIV on malaria infection and on the effects of malaria on HIV infection. The increased prevalence and intensity of parasitaemia (placental and peripheral infection and parasite density) in HIV-infected women is well established. Similarly, malaria infection seems to be associated with higher viral loads. However, there is still uncertainty as to the influence of malaria on the clinical course of HIV infection, mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and the consequences of co-infection on post-neonatal infant morbidity and mortality. These questions require further investigation. In terms of prevention, intermittent preventive treatment with two doses of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) has been found less effective in preventing malaria in HIV-infected than uninfected women, and a higher dosage (such as monthly SP) has been recommended. Regarding malaria, there is also a lack of clear recommendations for women taking daily cotrimoxazole prophylaxis, and anti-malarial-anti-retroviral interactions are not well understood. Multi-centre clinical trials should be undertaken to investigate effective, coherent and well-tolerated strategies to prevent malaria in HIV-infected women. Safe alternatives to SP should be identified and evaluated rapidly. Finally, a central pharmaco-vigilance network should be instituted to report adverse effects.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2009 · Annals of Tropical Paediatrics International Child Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the Saimiri sciureus monkey, erythrocytes infected with the varO antigenic variant of the Plasmodium falciparum Palo Alto 89F5 clone bind uninfected red blood cells (rosetting), form autoagglutinates, and have a high multiplication rate,
three phenotypic characteristics that are associated with severe malaria in human patients. We report here that varO parasites
express a var gene having the characteristics of group A var genes, and we show that the varO Duffy binding-like 1α1 (DBL1α1) domain is implicated in the rosetting of both S. sciureus and human erythrocytes. The soluble varO N-terminal sequence (NTS)-DBL1α1 recombinant domain, produced in a baculovirus-insect cell system, induced high titers of antibodies that reacted with varO-infected
red blood cells and disrupted varO rosettes. varO parasites were culture adapted in vitro using human erythrocytes. They formed
rosettes and autoagglutinates, and they had the same surface serotype and expressed the same varO gene as the monkey-propagated parasites. To develop an in vitro model with highly homogeneous varO parasites, rosette purification
was combined with positive selection by panning with a varO NTS-DBL1α1-specific mouse monoclonal antibody. The single-variant, clonal parasites were used to analyze seroprevalence for varO at
the village level in a setting where malaria is holoendemic (Dielmo, Senegal). We found 93.6% (95% confidence interval, 89.7
to 96.4%) seroprevalence for varO surface-reacting antibodies and 86.7% (95% confidence interval, 82.8 to 91.6%) seroprevalence
for the recombinant NTS-DBL1α1 domain, and virtually all permanent residents had seroconverted by the age of 5 years. These data imply that the varO model
is a relevant in vivo and in vitro model for rosetting and autoagglutination that can be used for rational development of
vaccine candidates and therapeutic strategies aimed at preventing malaria pathology.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2008 · Infection and immunity
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epidemiological data point to an increased risk of HIV-1 mother-to-child transmission in pregnant women with malaria, by unknown mechanisms. We show here that surface binding of a recombinant Plasmodium falciparum adhesin to chondroitin sulphate A proteoglycans increases HIV-1 replication in the human placental cell line BeWo, probably by a P. falciparum adhesin-induced long-terminal repeat-driven TNF-alpha stimulation. This suggests that placental malaria could increase the risk of HIV-1 transmission in utero.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2008 · AIDS (London, England)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have previously identified a number of DBLgamma domains in Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) transcripts obtained from placental parasite isolates, showing that they bind specifically to chondroitin sulfate A (CSA) (Khattab A, Kun J, Deloron P, Kremsner PG, Klinkert MQ. Variants of Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 expressed by different placental parasites are closely related and adhere to chondroitin sulfate A. J Infect Dis 2001;183:1165-9). Here we give a more detailed physico-chemical and binding characterisation of the soluble, recombinant DBLgamma domain derived from one of these isolates. Results from circular dichroism and limited proteolysis experiments are consistent with the recombinant domain being expressed with the native fold. Specific binding of DBLgamma to placental cryosections was demonstrated by labeling with antibodies raised against the recombinant domain; binding was diminished after treatment of the cryosections with chondroitinase or by blocking with anti-CSA antibody, showing that CSA mediates the interaction. Binding of the DBLgamma domain to purified placental chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG) was also studied using surface plasmon resonance techniques, with DBLgamma as analyte and CSPG immobilised on the sensor chip; these quantitative measurements gave an affinity constant in the mu-molar range under the conditions used. The native conformation of the DBLgamma domain is essential for CSPG recognition since binding to the sensor chip is abolished when the protein is irreversibly reduced. As with the placental cryosections, association was significantly reduced after treating the immobilised CSPG with chondroitinase. Together, these results demonstrate specific interaction between the DBLgamma domain and the placental receptor.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2007 · Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A recombinant Duffy binding–like (DBL)–γ domain from a previously identified placental isolate, 732, was expressed by use
of the baculovirus/insect cell system and was purified in milligram quantities. The recombinant protein binds specifically
to chondroitin sulfate A (CSA) and inhibits CSA binding by placental infected erythrocytes (IEs). Polyclonal antibodies raised
against the domain recognized the surfaces of live IEs from CSA-adherent clinical placental isolates. These antibodies also
abrogated the in vitro binding of IEs to CSA. The 732 DBL-3γ domain was specifically recognized by plasma from pregnant women
but not by plasma from control subjects. In addition, the protein was, comparatively, significantly more reactive with plasma
from women with infected placentas, strongly suggesting that the 732 DBL-3γ domain carries preferentially IE-expressed immunogenic
epitopes. High levels of plasma antibodies to the recombinant domain were associated with reduced placental parasite density.
This is the first report of a recombinant DBL-γ domain derived from a placental isolate that shows CSA-binding properties
Preview · Article · Nov 2005 · The Journal of Infectious Diseases