The Plasmodium vivax Merozoite Surface Protein-3α (PvMSP-3α) is considered as a potential vaccine candidate. However, the detailed investigations of the type of immune responses induced in naturally exposed populations are necessary. Therefore, we aim to characterize the naturally induced antibody to PvMSP-3α in 282 individuals with different levels of exposure to malaria infections residents in Brazilian Amazon. PvMSP3 specific antibodies (IgA, IgG and IgG subclass) to five recombinant proteins and the epitope mapping by Spot-synthesis technique to full-protein sequence of amino acids (15aa sequence with overlapping sequence of 9aa) were performed. Our results indicates that PvMSP3 is highly immunogenic in naturally exposed populations, where 78% of studied individuals present IgG immune response against the full-length recombinant protein (PVMSP3-FL) and IgG subclass profile was similar to all five recombinant proteins studied with a high predominance of IgG1 and IgG3. We also observe that IgG and subclass levels against PvMSP3 are associated with malaria exposure. The PvMSP3 epitope mapping by Spot-synthesis shows a natural recognition of at least 15 antigenic determinants, located mainly in the two blocks of repeats, confirming the high immunogenicity of this region. In conclusion, PvMSP-3α is immunogenic in naturally exposed individuals to malaria infections and that antibodies to PvMSP3 are induced to several B cell epitopes. The presence of PvMSP3 cytophilic antibodies (IgG1 and IgG3), suggests that this mechanism could also occur in P. vivax.
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