The enolase protein of the human malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum has recently been characterized. Apart from its glycolytic function, enolase has also been shown to possess antigenic properties and to be present on the cell wall of certain invasive organisms, such as Candida albicans. In order to assess whether enolase of P. falciparum is also antigenic, sera from residents of a region of Eastern India where malaria is endemic were tested against the recombinant P. falciparum enolase (r-Pfen) protein. About 96% of immune adult sera samples reacted with r-Pfen over and above the seronegative controls. Rabbit anti-r-Pfen antibodies inhibited the growth of in vitro cultures of P. falciparum. Mice immunized with r-Pfen showed protection against a challenge with the 17XL lethal strain of the mouse malarial parasite Plasmodium yoelii. The antibodies raised against r-Pfen were specific for Plasmodium and did not react to the host tissues. Immunofluorescence as well as electron microscopic examinations revealed localization of the enolase protein on the merozoite cell surface. These observations establish malaria enolase to be a potential protective antigen.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases