Malaria journal

New adenovirus-based vaccine vectors targeting Pfs25 elicit antibodies that inhibit Plasmodium falciparum transmission.

PMID 28619071


An effective malaria transmission-blocking vaccine (TBV) would be a major advance in the current efforts to eliminate and, ultimately, eradicate malaria. Antibodies against Plasmodium falciparum surface protein, Pfs25, are known to block parasite development in the mosquito vector. However, in initial clinical trials the limited immunogenicity of recombinant Pfs25 protein-in-adjuvant vaccines has been a challenge. Novel human adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) vectors were used in heterologous prime boost vaccination strategies to augment the immune response against Pfs25. Specifically, an Ad5 vector that directs expression of full-length, membrane-bound Pfs25 was used as a priming immunization followed by a boost with Ad5 viral particles displaying only the Pfs25 epitope targeted by transmission-blocking antibodies 4B7 and 1D2 (Pfs25 aa 122-134) in hypervariable region 5 of the hexon capsid protein. This heterologous prime-boost vaccine strategy induced antibodies that significantly inhibit P. falciparum transmission to mosquitoes in a standard membrane-feeding assay. Further, immunized mice generated a robust anti-Pfs25 antibody response characterized by higher titer, higher relative avidity and a broader IgG subclass profile than observed with a homologous prime-boost with recombinant Pfs25/alum. The data suggest that focusing the immune response against defined epitopes displayed on the viral capsid is an effective strategy for transmission-blocking vaccine development.