The C-terminal 19-kDa fragment of Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein-1 (MSP-119) is a target of protective Abs against blood-stage infection and a leading candidate for inclusion in a human malaria vaccine. However, the precise role, relative importance, and mechanism of action of Abs that target this protein remain unclear. To examine the potential protective role of Abs to MSP-119 in individuals naturally exposed to malaria, we conducted a treatment time to infection study over a 10-wk period in 76 residents of a highland area of western Kenya during a malaria epidemic. These semi-immune individuals were not all equally susceptible to reinfection with P. falciparum following drug cure. Using a new neutralization may based on transgenic P. falciparum expressing the P. chabaudi MSP-119 orthologue, individuals with high-level MSP-119-specific invasion-inhibitory Abs (>75th percentile) had a 66% reduction in the risk of blood-stage infection relative to others in the population (95% confidence interval, 3-88%). In contrast, high levels of MSP-119 IgG or IgG subclass Abs measured by enzyme immunoassay with six different recombinant MSP-119 Ags did not correlate with protection from infection. IgG Abs measured by serology and functional invasion-inhibitory activity did not correlate with each other. These findings implicate an important protective role for MSP-119-specific invasion inhibitory Abs in immunity to blood-stage P. falciparum infection, and suggest that the measurement of MSP-119 specific inhibitory Abs may serve as an accurate correlate of protection in clinical trials of MSP-1-based vaccines.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy