Rhoptries are cellular organelles localized at the apical pole of apicomplexan parasites. Their content is rich in lipids and proteins that are released during target cell invasion. Plasmodium falciparum rhoptry-associated protein 1 (RAP1) has been the most widely studied among this parasite species' rhoptry proteins and is considered to be a good anti-malarial vaccine candidate since it displays little polymorphism and induces antibodies in infected humans. Monoclonal antibodies directed against RAP1 are also able to inhibit target cell invasion in vitro and protection against P. falciparum experimental challenge is induced when non-human primates are immunized with this protein expressed in its recombinant form. This study describes identifying and characterizing RAP1 in Plasmodium vivax, the most widespread parasite species causing malaria in humans, producing more than 80 million infections yearly, mainly in Asia and Latin America. This new protein is encoded by a two-exon gene, is proteolytically processed in a similar manner to its falciparum homologue and, as observed by microscopy, the immunofluorescence pattern displayed is suggestive of its rhoptry localization. Further studies evaluating P. vivax RAP1 protective efficacy in non-human primates should be carried out taking into account the relevance that its P. falciparum homologue has as an anti-malarial vaccine candidate. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
|Number of pages
|Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
|Published - Mar 24 2006