Human Antibody Responses to Epitopes on the Plasmodium Falciparum Gametocyte Antigen PFS 48/45 and their Relationship to Infectivity of Gametocyte Carriers

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  • Queensland Institute of Medical Research, The Bancroft Centre, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Antibodies in human sera recognizing epitopes I, IIa, III, and IV on the Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte antigen Pfs 48/45 have been investigated by competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. More than one-third of the residents of three villages in Madang, Papua New Guinea responded to epitopes I, IIa and III, with little variation by village or with time. There was a bimodal distribution of positive sera by age, with the highest proportion of responders in the 5–9- and > 20-year-old age groups. The data suggest a lower prevalence of antibodies against epitopes IIa and III in P. falciparum gametocyte carriers than in non-carriers. Enhancement of binding of monoclonal antibodies to epitopes IIa and III was also observed more frequently with sera from gametocyte carriers. Sera from gametocyte carriers in Papua New Guinea and Thailand, whose infectivity to mosquitoes had been tested, were used to examine the relationship between recognition of particular epitopes and infectivity. There was a significant association between lack of infectivity of P. falciparum gametocyte carriers and recognition of epitope IIa on Pfs 48/45 by antibodies in their sera.