Lack of H-2 restriction of the Plasmodium falciparum (NANP) sequence as multiple antigen peptide

Eur J Immunol. 1991 Sep;21(9):2273-6. doi: 10.1002/eji.1830210941.


The major surface antigen of malaria sporozoites, the circumsporozoite protein, contains a region of tandem amino acid repeats, which in the case of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, consist of four amino acids Asn-Ala-Asn-Pro (NANP) repeated up to about 40 times. This repetitive sequence has been considered as the basis for the development of subunit vaccines against P. falciparum malaria. We and others had previously shown that synthetic and recombinant NANP peptides were immunogenic only in H-2b mice. In the present report we show that, when mice with different H-2 haplotypes are immunized with the repetitive NANP sequence incorporated in a synthetic branching multiple antigen peptide (MAP), all except one of the mouse strains tested mounted an anti-peptide antibody response. Such a response does not appear to be due to the peculiar assembly of the NANP sequence. In fact, MAP containing repetitive sequences from circumsporozoite proteins of other malaria parasites did not overcome the genetic restriction of the immune response to the linear peptides. These data show that in the case of the P. falciparum NANP repeats, their immunogenicity can be dramatically changed and increased when these peptides are assembled as MAP. This unexpected finding may be of interest in the design of synthetic candidate malaria vaccines.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Protozoan / immunology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • H-2 Antigens / immunology*
  • Immunization
  • Immunoglobulin G / biosynthesis
  • Malaria / genetics
  • Malaria / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmodium berghei / immunology
  • Plasmodium falciparum / immunology*
  • Plasmodium malariae / immunology
  • Plasmodium vivax / immunology
  • Protozoan Proteins*
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid / immunology*


  • Antigens, Protozoan
  • H-2 Antigens
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • circumsporozoite protein, Protozoan