A malaria vaccine protects Aotus monkeys against virulent Plasmodium falciparum infection

Prakash Srinivasan, G. Christian Baldeviano, Kazutoyo Miura, Ababacar Diouf, Julio A. Ventocilla, Karina P. Leiva, Luis Lugo-Roman, Carmen Lucas, Sachy Orr-Gonzalez, Daming Zhu, Eileen Villasante, Lorraine Soisson, David L. Narum, Susan K. Pierce, Carole A. Long, Carter Diggs, Patrick E. Duffy, Andres G. Lescano, Louis H. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The Plasmodium falciparum protein, apical membrane antigen 1 forms a complex with another parasite protein, rhoptry neck protein 2, to initiate junction formation with the erythrocyte and is essential for merozoite invasion during the blood stage of infection. Consequently, apical membrane antigen 1 has been a target of vaccine development but vaccination with apical membrane antigen 1 alone in controlled human malaria infections failed to protect and showed limited efficacy in field trials. Here we show that vaccination with AMA1-RON2L complex in Freund's adjuvant protects Aotus monkeys against a virulent Plasmodium falciparum infection. Vaccination with AMA1 alone gave only partial protection, delaying infection in one of eight animals. However, the AMA1-RON2L complex vaccine completely protected four of eight monkeys and substantially delayed infection (>25 days) in three of the other four animals. Interestingly, antibodies from monkeys vaccinated with the AMA1-RON2L complex had significantly higher neutralizing activity than antibodies from monkeys vaccinated with AMA1 alone. Importantly, we show that antibodies from animals vaccinated with the complex have significantly higher neutralization activity against non-vaccine type parasites. We suggest that vaccination with the AMA1-RON2L complex induces functional antibodies that better recognize AMA1 as it appears complexed with RON2 during merozoite invasion. These data justify progression of this next generation AMA1 vaccine towards human trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15
Journalnpj Vaccines
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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