Antibodies to plant-produced Plasmodium falciparum sexual stage protein Pfs25 exhibit transmission blocking activity
SourceHuman Vaccines, 7 Suppl, (2011), pp. 191-8
Article / Letter to editor
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vol. 7 Suppl
SubjectN4i 1: Pathogenesis and modulation of inflammation NCMLS 1: Infection and autoimmunity
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal mosquito-borne disease caused by a protozoan parasite. Each year, it is estimated that over one million people are killed by malaria, yet the disease is preventable and treatable. Developing vaccines against the parasite is a critical component in the fight against malaria and these vaccines can target different stages of the pathogen's life cycle. We are targeting sexual stage proteins of P. falciparum which are found on the surface of the parasite reproductive cells present in the mosquito gut. Antibodies against these proteins block the progression of the parasite's life cycle in the mosquito, and thus block transmission to the next human host. Transmission blocking vaccines are essential to the malaria eradication program to ease the disease burden at the population level. We have successfully produced multiple versions of the Pfs25 antigen in a plant virus-based transient expression system and have evaluated these vaccine candidates in an animal model. The targets are expressed in plants at a high level, are soluble and most importantly, generate strong transmission blocking activity as determined by a standard membrane feeding assay. These data demonstrate the feasibility of expressing Plasmodium antigens in a plant-based system for the economic production of a transmission blocking vaccine against malaria.
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