CD4 T Cell Responses to a Variant Antigen of the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum, Erythrocyte Membrane Protein–1, in Individuals Living in Malaria-Endemic Areas
Allsopp, Catherine E. M.
Sanni, Latifu A.
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Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein–1 (PfEMP-1) is a variant antigen on the surface of malaria-infected red blood cells. Antibody responses to PfEMP-1 correlate with immunity, and, therefore, PfEMP-1 may be a good candidate for a malaria vaccine. However, the specificity of CD4 T cells required for a protective variant-specific antibody response is not known. We have measured the CD4 T cell response to 3 different regions that are relatively homologous among different PfEMP-1 variants. The response to the cysteine-rich interdomain region was unusual in that the majority of donors, whether malaria exposed or not, had positive CD4 T cell, interleukin-10, and interferon-g responses. The CD4 T cell response to the exon 2 and duffy binding– like domain proteins was significantly greater in malaria-exposed donors than in unexposed Europeans, which suggests that these regions contain peptides recognized by T cells, which thus may be useful as components of a vaccine. Plasmodium falciparum infections are characterized by