The Fab fragments of monoclonal IgG to a merozoite surface antigen inhibit Plasmodium knowlesi invasion of erythrocytes

Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1984 Oct;13(2):187-99. doi: 10.1016/0166-6851(84)90112-9.


Two rat monoclonal antibodies (both IgG2a isotype and having closely related specificities) and a pool of rhesus immune IgG, all of which inhibit Plasmodium knowlesi merozoite invasion of rhesus erythrocytes, have been studied before and after proteolytic digestion. The F(ab')2 and Fab fragments of both rat monoclonal antibodies show considerably enhanced inhibition of merozoite invasion as compared with the intact IgG. Inhibition by monovalent fragments indicates that these antibodies are not dependent upon merozoite agglutination and may act by blocking merozoite attachment to the specific red cell receptor. The fact that the inhibitory activities of F(ab')2 and Fab are equally enhanced on a weight basis, as compared with IgG, suggests that the removal of Fc may reduce electrostatic repulsion between antibody and merozoite surface, both of which are negatively charged at neutral pH. By contrast, papain digestion of polyclonal IgG derived from an immunised rhesus pool markedly reduces its inhibitory activity. This suggests that much of the inhibition mediated by polyclonal IgG results from merozoite agglutination and that the specificity of the rat inhibitory monoclonal antibodies is poorly represented in the immune pool. The P. knowlesi antigen reactive with the inhibitory monoclonal antibodies is known to be synthesized as a minor 66 kDa polypeptide during the last 1.5 h. of schizont development and is processed to smaller products (44 and 42 kDa) present on the merozoite surface. The present results suggest that this antigen may have particular interest as a vaccine against P. knowlesi malaria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology*
  • Antigens, Protozoan / immunology*
  • Antigens, Surface / immunology*
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology*
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Plasmodium / immunology*
  • Rats


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Protozoan
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments
  • Immunoglobulin G