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The C-terminal (3') amino acid repeat region of the Plasmodium falciparum Ag Pf155/RESA, a vaccine candidate, contains immunodominant T and B cell epitopes. In order to identify additional T cell epitopes in the molecule, synthetic peptides corresponding to the centrally (5') located repeat region, as well as to four nonrepeated regions, were synthesized. T cells from 46 P. falciparum-primed individuals living in a holoendemic area of The Gambia where malaria transmission is seasonal were tested for their responsiveness to the peptides by thymidine incorporation and IFN-gamma release. There was a considerable variation in the response to different peptides. Proliferation and IFN-gamma release were not correlated in individual donors, underlining the importance of measuring both activities when screening donor populations for total T cell responsiveness to a given Ag. Whereas 72% of the donors responded with proliferation and/or IFN-gamma release to the intact protein the mean % responders to the peptides was 40%. The most frequent responses (up to 60%) were induced with peptides from the 3'- and 5'-repeat region of the protein. Analysis of some closely related sequences in the 3'-repeat region indicated that they contained at least two epitopes that were either distinct or cross-reacting in different donors, suggesting difference in the genetic control of these responses. When the same peptides were investigated for reactivity with antibodies, the best T cell inducing sequences also displayed the best antibody reactivities. However, in individual donors, T and B cell responses were not correlated. T cell responses were shown to persist after a period with no P. falciparum transmission, whereas antibody concentrations tended to decrease, suggesting differences in the requirements of boosting at the T and B cell levels, respectively.



Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

Publication Date





3043 - 3048


Department of Immunology, University of Stockholm, Sweden.


B-Lymphocytes, T-Lymphocytes, Animals, Humans, Plasmodium falciparum, Malaria, Peptides, Antigens, Protozoan, Epitopes, Lymphocyte Activation, Seasons, Amino Acid Sequence, Time Factors, Interferon-gamma