In vitro and in vivo inhibition of malaria parasite infection by monoclonal antibodies against Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein (CSP).


Plasmodium falciparum malaria contributes to a significant global disease burden. Circumsporozoite protein (CSP), the most abundant sporozoite stage antigen, is a prime vaccine candidate. Inhibitory monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against CSP map to either a short junctional sequence or the central (NPNA)n repeat region. We compared in vitro and in vivo activities of six CSP-specific mAbs derived from human recipients of a recombinant CSP vaccine RTS,S/AS01 (mAbs 317 and 311); an irradiated whole sporozoite vaccine PfSPZ (mAbs CIS43 and MGG4); or individuals exposed to malaria (mAbs 580 and 663). RTS,S mAb 317 that specifically binds the (NPNA)n epitope, had the highest affinity and it elicited the best sterile protection in mice. The most potent inhibitor of sporozoite invasion in vitro was mAb CIS43 which shows dual-specific binding to the junctional sequence and (NPNA)n. In vivo mouse protection was associated with the mAb reactivity to the NANPx6 peptide, the in vitro inhibition of sporozoite invasion activity, and kinetic parameters measured using intact mAbs or their Fab fragments. Buried surface area between mAb and its target epitope was also associated with in vivo protection. Association and disconnects between in vitro and in vivo readouts has important implications for the design and down-selection of the next generation of CSP based interventions.






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Publication Info

Livingstone, Merricka C, Alexis A Bitzer, Alish Giri, Kun Luo, Rajeshwer S Sankhala, Misook Choe, Xiaoyan Zou, S Moses Dennison, et al. (2021). In vitro and in vivo inhibition of malaria parasite infection by monoclonal antibodies against Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein (CSP). Scientific reports, 11(1). p. 5318. 10.1038/s41598-021-84622-x Retrieved from

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Moses Sekaran

Assistant Professor in Surgery

Georgia Doris Tomaras

Professor in Surgery

Dr. Georgia Tomaras is a tenured Professor of Surgery, Professor of Immunology, Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  Dr. Tomaras is Co-Director of the Center for Human Systems Immunology (CHSI) Duke University and Director of the Duke Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). Her national and international leadership roles include: Executive Management Team (EMT) leader and mPI for the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN); Director of Lab Sciences (HVTN); and Chair of NIH Vaccine Research Center (VRC) Board of Scientific Counselors. Her prior leadership roles include serving as the Director of Research, Duke Human Vaccine Institute (DHVI); Director of the DHVI Training Program; Associate Director of DHVI Research; Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Training Program in AIDS (IRTPA) Duke; Chair of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) AIDS Vaccine Research Subcommittee (AVRS), and Advisory Counsel member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Dr. Tomaras’ primary research focus is deciphering mechanisms of protective human immunity and identification of immune correlates of protection to further development of effective vaccines against infectious diseases.  


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