In humans, sterile immunity against malaria has only been obtained after
exposure to irradiated sporozoites inoculated by mosquitoes. The full repertoire
of parasite antigens that underlie this protection is not known. Recently,
antigens by invasion blood stage parasites have been shown to be expressed by
sporozoites, which lead to the hypothesis that they might also be involved in
sporozoite invasion of hepatocytes. Using the availability of suitable model
systems, this project proposes to study the expression of these
invasion-associated sporozoite proteins and host immunity. This information will
then be used to test a suitable approach for a new malaria vaccine
The full repertoire of pre-erythrocytic antigens that underlie the sterile
protection induced by irradiated sporozoites is not actually known. The three
antigens investigated to date may not be responsible for induction of optimal
protective responses. This would account for the difficulties encountered in
reproducing this sterile long-lasting immunity by current sub-unit vaccines. It
would clearly be desirable to investigate other pre-erythrocytic antigens. Such
efforts to expand targets of pre-erythrocytic stage immunity are justified
because the infection is at its most vulnerable between the time when
sporozoites are injected and when hepatic merozoites emerge into the blood
stream. During this period, there are two distinct stages, the sporozoite and
infected hepatocyte, (whose numbers rarely exceed 100 in the human body) that
can be attacked. The protective responses could comprise not only humoral but
also cellular effector mechanisms, since this is the only time during the
infection when the parasite can be found for 5 to 14 days inside a major
histocompatibility complex, MHC-expressing cell. Even if sub-optimal, the
appropriate immune response could fully abrogate the infection, thus preventing
both pathology and transmission to another host.
1. To obtain a list of all potential genes within the ebl and
rh families in P. falciparum, P. berghei and P.
yoelii. Real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) will then be performed
for each gene on ribonucleic acid (RNA) purified from all the stages of these
parasites and the expression profile in sporozoites determined.
2. To obtain recombinant proteins, peptides and immunological reagents
specific to each gene product expressed in sporozoites.
3. To characterise the proteins expressed in the sporozoite using reagents
obtained in (2).
4. To obtain transgenic parasite lines in which sporozoite-expressed genes
identified in (1) are individually disrupted or knocked-out, and purify the
5. To employ the reagents from (2) to determine the functional role of each
protein in sporozoite invasion and development in the hepatocyte.
6. To employ the sporozoites obtained in (4) to assess the functional role of
each protein during the life cycle.
7. To employ the reagents from (2) and (4) to conduct immunisation studies,
so as to quantify the level of protection obtained.
8. To conduct a detailed analysis of immune responses resulting from (7), and
derive surrogate markers of protection.
It is expected to characterise the new invasion-associated sporozoite
antigens from three species of Plasmodium, to assess their role in
hepatocyte invasion, to develop immunogens for vaccination studies and assess
their efficacy against a sporozoite challenge.
The results of this project will be useful in the design and development of
malaria vaccines based on these new antigens.
Département d’Immunologie, Institut Cochin
INSERM U567, CNRS UMR 8104
Hôpital Cochin, Bâtiment Gustave Roussy
27 rue du Fbg St Jacques
Tel: +33 1 40 51 65 07
Fax: +33 1 40 51 65 35
|2||Dominique Mazier||INSERM U 511|
Immunobiologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire des Infections Parasitaires
91 Bld de l’Hôpital
|Tel: +33 1 42 82 28 59|
Fax: +33 1 45 83 88 58
|3||Robert Sauerwein||Department of Medical Microbiology|
University Medical Center
P.O. Box 9101
NL-6500 HB Nijmegen
|Tel: +31 24 36 10 557 |
Fax: +31 24 36 14666
|4||Maria M. Mota||Malaria Cell Biology Group|
Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia
Rua da Apart. 14, Quinta Grande 6
|Tel: +351 21 446 45 17|
Fax: +351 21 440 7970
|5||Alan Cowman||Division of Infection and Immunity|
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) of Medical Research
1G Royal Parade
|Fax: +613 9347 0852 |