Research Article

Antibodies to PfSEA-1 block parasite egress from RBCs and protect against malaria infection

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  23 May 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6186, pp. 871-877
DOI: 10.1126/science.1254417

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Novel vaccines are urgently needed to reduce the burden of severe malaria. Using a differential whole-proteome screening method, we identified Plasmodium falciparum schizont egress antigen-1 (PfSEA-1), a 244-kilodalton parasite antigen expressed in schizont-infected red blood cells (RBCs). Antibodies to PfSEA-1 decreased parasite replication by arresting schizont rupture, and conditional disruption of PfSEA-1 resulted in a profound parasite replication defect. Vaccination of mice with recombinant Plasmodium berghei PbSEA-1 significantly reduced parasitemia and delayed mortality after lethal challenge with the Plasmodium berghei strain ANKA. Tanzanian children with antibodies to recombinant PfSEA-1A (rPfSEA-1A) did not experience severe malaria, and Kenyan adolescents and adults with antibodies to rPfSEA-1A had significantly lower parasite densities than individuals without these antibodies. By blocking schizont egress, PfSEA-1 may synergize with other vaccines targeting hepatocyte and RBC invasion.

Progress toward an effective malaria vaccine

The history of efforts to develop a malaria vaccine has been long and difficult. Raj et al. probed for molecules produced by this blood parasite that are recognized by natural immune responses of people living in malaria-endemic areas of Africa. One, PfSEA-1, blocked parasite exit from red blood cells. Vaccination experiments with mouse malaria showed almost fourfold reduction in parasitemia; moreover, passive transfer of PfSEA-1 antibodies transferred protection from mouse to mouse. Encouragingly, the presence of PfSEA-1 antibodies correlates with significant protection from severe malaria in children and adolescents from Kenya and Tanzania.

Science, this issue p. 871

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science