Immunization of Owl Monkeys with a Recombinant Protein Containing Repeated Epitopes of a Plasmodium Falciparum Glycophorin-Binding Protein

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  • Department of Immunology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Infectious Disease Service, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Smith Kline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, King of Prussia, DeWitt Wallace Research Laboratory, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Washington, DC

A Plasmodium falciparum glycophorin binding protein (GBP-130) has been implicated in protective immunity to malaria. The gene for GBP-130 encodes a protein containing 11 tandemly repetitive 50 amino acid units. We report an immunization trial in Aotus monkeys using a recombinant DNA protein containing three of these 50 amino acid repeats. When administered with aluminum hydroxide, this antigen induced low levels of antibodies that reacted with the recombinant protein by ELISA and with parasite antigens in immunoblot and immunofluorescence assays, but not by immunoprecipitation. When administered with Freund's complete adjuvant, this antigen induced high levels of antibodies that reacted in ELISA, immunoblot, immunofluorescence, and immunoprecipitation assays. Serum from immunized monkeys did not inhibit parasite growth, and protection from intravenous challenge with P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes was not observed in any experimental group. These results suggest that the repetitive region of GBP-130 is not a useful vaccine candidate.

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