The gene coding for the circumsporozoite antigen of the malaria parasite Plasmodium knowlesi was inserted into the vaccinia virus genome under the control of a defined vaccinia virus promoter. Cells infected with the recombinant virus synthesized polypeptides of 53,000 to 56,000 daltons that reacted with monoclonal antibody against the repeating epitope of the malaria protein. Furthermore, rabbits vaccinated with the recombinant virus produced antibodies that bound specifically to sporozoites. These data provide evidence for expression of a cloned malaria gene in mammalian cells and illustrate the potential of vaccinia virus recombinants as live malaria vaccines.