Conserved and Variant Epitopes of Target Antigens of Transmission-Blocking Antibodies among Isolates of Plasmodium falciparum from Malaysia

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  • US Army Medical Research Unit, Institute for Medical Research, Kuala Lumpur, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Catholic University of Nijmegen, Edinburgh, Scotland, Malaysia
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Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) directed against different epitope regions on three sexual stage-specific gamete surface proteins of Plasmodium falciparum, Pfs 25, Pfs 230, and Pfs 48/45, were used to study the genetic diversity of these epitopes among fresh isolates of P. falciparum from Malaysia, using immunofluorescence microscopy (IFA). Among 45 Malaysian isolates, one epitope of Pfs 25, designated region I, showed evidence of variable reactivity with MAbs among different isolates; the Pfs 25 epitope, region II, was universally recognized by MAbs in all isolates. Two apparently distinct epitope regions of Pfs 230 were defined by MAbs, one of which was universally recognized by MAbs among the 45 isolates; the other was conserved in all but three isolates. The epitope regions of gamete-surface protein Pfs 48/45, designated regions I, IIa, IIb, IIc, III, and IV, were examined for reactivity by IFA in 33 isolates. Epitope regions I, IIb, III, and IV were conserved in all isolates; regions IIa and IIc existed in variant forms.