We used a pool of recombinant rifin proteins to pre-adsorb antibodies to rifin in the plasma of semi-immune African (Gabonese) adults and showed that this results in a reduction in the level of IgG antibody reactivity to variant surface antigens (VSA) measured in a standardized flow cytometric assay with a panel of heterologous parasite isolates. The same methods demonstrated a similar but less-marked contribution of antibodies to the duffy binding-like 1alpha (DBL-1alpha ) domain to the overall anti-VSA response. Thus, we conclude that both antibodies to rifin and, to a lesser extent, antibodies directed to conserved regions of the Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) DBL-1alpha domain contribute to the overall antibody response to VSA. We also assessed the associations between these different antibody responses in a cohort of Gabonese children. We found marked differences related to the childrens' history of presentation with either mild or severe malaria, but no consistent pattern that would indicate a specific role or influence of antibody responses to rifin.
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