High non-protective, long-lasting antibody levels in malaria are associated with haplotype shifting in MHC-peptide-TCR complex formation: a new mechanism for immune evasion
"An effective malarial vaccine must contain multiple immunogenic, protection-inducing epitopes able to block and destroy the P. falciparum malaria parasite, the most lethal form of this disease in the world. Our strategy has consisted in using conserved peptides blocking parasite binding to red blood cells; however, these peptides are non-immunogenic and non-protection-inducing. Modifying their critical residues can make them immunogenic. Such peptides induced antibody titers (determined by immunofluorescence antibody test, IFA) and made the latter reactive (determined by Western blot) and protection inducing against experimental challenge with a highly infective Aotus monkey adapted P. falciparum strain. Modified peptides also induce highly non-protective long-lasting antibody levels. Modifications performed might allow them to bind specifically to different HLA-DR? purified molecules. These immunological and biological activities are associated with modifications in their three-dimensional structure as determined by 1H-NMR. It was found that modified, high non-protective long-lasting antibody level peptides bound to HLA-DR molecules from a different haplotype (to which immunogenic, protection-inducers bind) and had 4.6 ± 1.4 Å shorter distances between residues fitting into these molecules' Pocket 1 to Pocket 9, suggesting fitting into an inappropriate HLA-DR molecule. A multi-component, subunit-based, malarial vaccine is therefore feasible if modified peptides are suitably modified for an appropriate fit into the correct HLA-DR?1* molecule in order to form a proper MHC-II–peptide–TCR complex."
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