Two conserved regions from the genetically polymorphic p190 molecule of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum have previously been expressed in Escherichia coli as separate polypeptides (190.L and 190.M) or as a single fusion protein (190.N). In the present study we investigated whether human B and T lymphocytes recognize these conserved regions. The more amino-terminal region, 190.L (corresponding to residues 188-363 of the encoded protein sequence) reacted preferentially with sera from donors living in a malaria-endemic area. Also, EBV-transformed B cells, from a healthy donor living in a malaria-mesoendemic area, were fused with a human-mouse hybrid line (SPM4-0), yielding two hybridomas whose products recognized both 190.L and the fusion protein 190.N, but not the 190.M polypeptide. A large number of p190-specific T cell clones were obtained from PBMC of a noninfected donor, after in vitro stimulation with the recombinant fusion protein 190.N. The clones reacted with intact, parasite-derived p190, as well as either 190.L or 190.M. Four clones that recognized the more amino-terminal fragment also responded to infected E. According to these results the more amino-terminal conserved sequences of p190 have the requisites to be immunogenic in humans.

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