Targeted diagnostic serological screening using ONCYTE porous nitrocellulose (PNC) microarrays is currently greatly expanding. Interesting research in the Felgner laboratory at UC Irvine has centered on identifying and monitoring P. falciparum antigens involved in malaria infection using subsets of its viral proteome produced via a recombinant expression system and arraying on PNC.
Recently, in collaboration with Felgner, Campo, et al. assessed malaria protection in RTS, S vaccinated Mozambican children using a protein microarray comprising 824 immunoreactive P. falciparum proteins varying in life cycle stage (asexual blood stage antigens, sexual stage antigens, Malsporozoite antigens) (1). These arrays were probed with serum from children to profile their naturally-acquired immunity to malaria in comparison to RTS,S vaccinated children with the goal of better understand the mechanism by which the vaccine functions to protect against infection. Contrary to the hypothesized mechanism, results indicated that vaccination with the RTS, S may in fact have a pre-erythrocytic mechanism of protection – blocking sporozoite invasion of hepatocytes resulting in a downstream reduction of the blood stage parasites causing malaria.
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(1) Campo, Joe J., et al. “RTS, S vaccination is associated with serologic evidence of decreased exposure to Plasmodium falciparum liver and blood stage parasites.” Molecular & Cellular Proteomics (2014): mcp-M114.