Immunization of mice with irradiated Brugia larvae or parasite extracts has been shown to induce partial resistance to microfilaremia and enhance clearance of infective larvae. We recently reported the cloning of a 548 amino acid 62-kDa Brugia malayi Ag identified on the basis of reactivity with antisera to a subset of protective microfilarial Ag. Our study describes the protective efficacy against microfilaremia in mice, immunogenicity, and parasite stage-specificity of this candidate vaccine molecule. Immunization of Swiss or BALB/c mice with 1 to 3 micrograms of a 92-kDa trpE fusion protein encoding amino acids 1-479 reduced the intensity of microfilaremia by 40 to 60% compared to control animals given buffer or bacterial trpE (p less than 0.01 to 0.001). Mice immunized with the 92-kDa fusion protein developed delayed-type hypersensitivity reactivity to B. malayi as assessed by enhanced footpad swelling 24 and 48 h after intradermal injection of adult worm extract and in vitro lymph node mononuclear cell proliferation (3H-thymidine uptake) in response to the fusion protein (mean +/- SD stimulation index 4.7 +/- 0.8 vs 2.0 +/- 1.4 for trpE, p less than 0.05). Proliferative responses of lymph node cells coincubated with three other fusion proteins corresponding to the filarial protein truncated from its carboxyl-terminus suggest that dominant T cell epitopes of the 62-kDa Ag are encompassed by amino acids 437-479. Rabbit antibody to the 92-kDa trpE fusion protein immunoprecipitated a 62-kDa polypeptide from [35S] methionine biosynthetically labeled B. malayi microfilariae, adult female, and adult male worms. These data indicate that a recombinant Ag expressed in several developmental stages of B. malayi is capable of inducing partial resistance against microfilariae and Ag-specific T cell responses in mice.

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