Synthetic malaria peptide vaccine elicits high levels of antibodies in vaccinees of defined HLA genotypes

J Infect Dis. 2000 Nov;182(5):1486-96. doi: 10.1086/315871. Epub 2000 Oct 9.


A multiple antigen peptide (MAP) malaria vaccine containing minimal Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein repeat epitopes was assessed for safety and immunogenicity in volunteers of known class II genotypes. The MAP/alum/QS-21 vaccine formulation elicited high levels of parasite-specific antibodies in 10 of 12 volunteers expressing DQB1*0603, DRB1*0401, or DRB1*1101 class II molecules. In contrast, volunteers of other HLA genotypes were low responders or nonresponders. A second study of 7 volunteers confirmed the correlation of class II genotype and high responder phenotype. This is the first demonstration in humans that a peptide vaccine containing minimal T and B cell epitopes composed of only 5 amino acids (N, A, V, D, and P) can elicit antibody titers comparable to multiple exposures to irradiated P. falciparum-infected mosquitoes. Moreover, the high-responder phenotypes were predicted by analysis of peptide/HLA interactions in vitro, thus facilitating the rational design of epitope-based peptide vaccines for malaria, as well as for other pathogens.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / biosynthesis*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • HLA-DQ Antigens / genetics*
  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains
  • HLA-DR Antigens / genetics*
  • HLA-DRB1 Chains
  • Humans
  • Malaria Vaccines / immunology*
  • Male
  • Plasmodium falciparum / immunology*
  • Saponins / pharmacology
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • HLA-DQ Antigens
  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains
  • HLA-DQB1 antigen
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • HLA-DRB1 Chains
  • HLA-DRB1*04:01 antigen
  • Malaria Vaccines
  • Saponins
  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • saponin QA-21V1