Immunity to sexual stages of malaria parasites

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Progress in Allergy




Several sexual stage-specific antigens have been identified as targets of malaria transmission-blocking antibodies. Until the tertiary structure nature of many of the epitopes of sexual stage antigens was realized, attempts to clone genes for these antigens were based mainly on screening recombinant DNA expression libraries in E. coli, without success. It is hoped that alternative approaches to obtaining these genes will soon succeed. There-upon studies can begin on the immunogenicity of synthetic constructs representing the sexual stage antigens and progress be made towards the possible development of a malaria transmission-blocking vaccine based on sexual stage antigens. However, the recent evidence for restriction of host immune response to target antigens of transmission-blocking antibodies and genetic diversity of parasites for immunogenicity (T cell epitope diversity) of the sexual stage antigens raises new problems to be resolved before effective vaccines can be developed based on these antigens.

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