Immunogenicity of Plasmodium vivax merozoite surface protein-9 recombinant proteins expressed in E. coli

Vaccine. 2004 May 7;22(15-16):2023-30. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2003.07.021.


Merozoite surface protein-9 of Plasmodium vivax (PvMSP-9) is highly conserved and present in several malaria species. Here, we present the immunogenic properties of two recombinant glutathione S-transferase (GST) fusion proteins comprising the N-terminus (PvMSP-9-Nt) and the second block of tandem repeats (PvMSP-9-RepII) of PvMSP9. These recombinants proteins were used to immunize BALB/c mice. The specificity and subtyping of the antibodies and the cellular immune responses were evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and ELISPOT, respectively, using the recombinant proteins as antigens. Our results demonstrate that both the N-terminal and the tandem repeat regions of MSP9 are immunogenic in mice. The ELISA antibody titers elicited by PvMSP-9-Nt were significantly higher (1:819,200) than the antibody titers elicited by PvMSP-9-RII (1:409,600). Analysis of IgG subclasses showed that both recombinant proteins induce similar antibody patterns where IgG1, IgG2a and IgG2b were most predominant. Moreover, all sera from mice immunized with either PvMSP-9-Nt or PvMSP-9-RII, which were positive by ELISA showed reactivity with P. vivax, P. cynomolgi, P. knowlesi and P. coatneyi schizonts by immunofluorescence assays (IFA). Similar results were observed in western immunoblot analyses using parasite extracts. Furthermore, immunization of mice with the PvMSP-9-Nt upon stimulation with PvMSP-9-Nt secreted IFN-gamma and IL-5. We have also used the two PvMSP-9 recombinant constructs to show that individuals exposed to P. vivax infections in an endemic area of Brazil had IgG antibodies reactive with the recombinant proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation / immunology
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brazil
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular / immunology
  • Interferon-gamma / analysis
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-5 / analysis
  • Interleukin-5 / biosynthesis
  • Malaria Vaccines / immunology*
  • Membrane Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Plasmodium vivax / immunology*
  • Protozoan Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Protozoan Proteins / immunology*
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / immunology


  • Interleukin-5
  • Malaria Vaccines
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • merozoite surface protein 9, Plasmodium
  • Interferon-gamma