Diversity in the Immunodominant Determinants of the Circumsporozoite Protein of Plasmodium falciparum Parasites from Malaria-Endemic Regions of Papua New Guinea and Brazil

Ya-Ping ShiMalaria Branch, Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Malaria Program, Instituto Evandro Chagas, Atlanta, Georgia

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Michael P. AlpersMalaria Branch, Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Malaria Program, Instituto Evandro Chagas, Atlanta, Georgia

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Marinete M. PovoaMalaria Branch, Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Malaria Program, Instituto Evandro Chagas, Atlanta, Georgia

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Altaf A. LalMalaria Branch, Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Malaria Program, Instituto Evandro Chagas, Atlanta, Georgia

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To determine the nature and extent of variation in the T cell sites of the Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite (CS) protein, a candidate antigen in the development of a malaria vaccine, we cloned and sequenced 69 recombinant clones of the CS protein gene representing 18 and 17 P. falciparum isolates from infected individuals from Madang, Papua New Guinea (PNG), a holoendemic malaria region, and Paragaminos and Jacunda, Brazil, relatively low endemic regions, respectively. As previously known, the amino acid sequence polymorphism was restricted to the three immunodominant regions of the protein, Th1R-N1, Th2R, and Th3R. While some of the observed nonsilent mutations in the T cell determinants of the CS protein were similar to those previously identified, we have found new amino acid changes in each of the polymorphic sequences in parasites from PNG and Brazil. A comparison of the CS epitope sequences of parasites from PNG and Brazil with the previously known CS epitope sequences of parasites from Brazil and The Gambia showed the following: 1) polymorphism was found in the Th1R-N1 Th2R, and Th3R region; however, while amino acid substitutions in the Th1R-N1 and Th2R region tended to be conservative, the substitutions found in the Th3R region were not, suggesting that the Th3R epitope may be rapidly evolving to allow parasites to escape host antiparasite cytotoxic T cell-enforced immune responses, and 2) the CS proteins of P. falciparum from high malaria-transmission regions (PNG and The Gambia) appear more polymorphic than the CS proteins of parasites from relatively low malaria-endemic regions in Brazil, where P. falciparum infection has been recently established.

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