Journal of biomedicine & biotechnology

Tomatine adjuvantation of protective immunity to a major pre-erythrocytic vaccine candidate of malaria is mediated via CD8+ T cell release of IFN-gamma.

PMID 20300588


The glycoalkaloid tomatine, derived from the wild tomato, can act as a powerful adjuvant to elicit an antigen-specific cell-mediated immune response to the circumsporozoite (CS) protein, a major pre-erythrocytic stage malaria vaccine candidate antigen. Using a defined MHC-class-I-restricted CS epitope in a Plasmodium berghei rodent model, antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte activity and IFN-gamma secretion ex vivo were both significantly enhanced compared to responses detected from similarly stimulated splenocytes from naive and tomatine-saline-immunized mice. Further, through lymphocyte depletion it is demonstrated that antigen-specific IFN-gamma is produced exclusively by the CD8(+) T cell subset. We conclude that the processing of the P. berghei CS peptide as an exogenous antigen and its presentation via MHC class I molecules to CD8(+) T cells leads to an immune response that is an in vitro correlate of protection against pre-erythrocytic malaria. Further characterization of tomatine as an adjuvant in malaria vaccine development is indicated.