A genetically hmgb2 attenuated blood stage P. berghei induces crossed-long live protection

PLoS One. 2020 May 7;15(5):e0232183. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0232183. eCollection 2020.


Due to the lack of efficiency to control malaria elicited by sub-unit vaccine preparations, vaccination with live-attenuated Plasmodium parasite as reported 70 years ago with irradiated sporozoites regained recently a significant interest. The complex life cycle of the parasite and the different stages of development between mammal host and anopheles do not help to propose an easy vaccine strategy. In order to achieve a complete long-lasting protection against Plasmodium infection and disease, we considered a genetically attenuated blood stage parasite in the hmgb2 gene coding for the high-mobility-group-box 2 (HMGB2). This Plasmodium protein belongs to the HMGB family and hold as the mammal proteins, a double life since it acts first as a nuclear factor involved in chromatin remodelling and transcription regulation and second, when secreted as an active pro-inflammatory alarmin protein. Even though the number of reports on whole living attenuated blood stage parasites is limited when compared to attenuated sporozoites, the results reported with Plasmodium KO parasites are very encouraging. In this report, we present a novel strategy based on pre-immunization with Δhmgb2PbNK65 parasitized red blood cells that confer long-lasting protection in a murine experimental cerebral malaria model against two highly pathogenic homologous and heterologous parasites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anopheles / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cross Protection / immunology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology
  • Female
  • HMGB2 Protein / genetics*
  • HMGB2 Protein / metabolism
  • Immunization / methods
  • Malaria Vaccines / immunology
  • Malaria, Cerebral / parasitology
  • Malaria, Cerebral / prevention & control*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Plasmodium berghei / genetics*
  • Plasmodium berghei / pathogenicity
  • Sporozoites / genetics
  • Vaccination / methods
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / genetics
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / immunology


  • HMGB2 Protein
  • Malaria Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Attenuated

Grant support

CV funding from INSERM (Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Médicale. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.)