Abstract

The circumsporozoite (CS) protein of Plasmodium falciparum is the focus of intense efforts to develop an antisporozoite malaria vaccine. Localization of sites for T-cell recognition on this molecule is critical for vaccine design. By using an algorithm designed to predict T-cell sites and a large panel of H-2 congenic mice, a major nonrepetitive T-cell site was located. When a synthetic peptide corresponding to this site was covalently linked to the major B-cell site on the molecule, an immunogen capable of eliciting a high-titer antibody response was formed. This peptide sequence could prime helper T cells for a secondary response to the intact CS protein. The new helper T-cell site is located outside the repetitive region of the CS protein and appears to be the immunodominant T site on the molecule. This approach should be useful in the rational design and construction of vaccines.