The monoclonal antibody CIS43 targets the Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein (PfCSP) and prevents malaria infection in humans for up to 9 mo following a single intravenous administration. To enhance the potency and clinical utility of CIS43, we used iterative site-saturation mutagenesis and DNA shuffling to screen precise gene-variant yeast display libraries for improved PfCSP antigen recognition. We identified several mutations that improved recognition, predominately in framework regions, and combined these to produce a panel of antibody variants. The most improved antibody, CIS43_Var10, had three mutations and showed approximately sixfold enhanced protective potency in vivo compared to CIS43. Co-crystal and cryo-electron microscopy structures of CIS43_Var10 with the peptide epitope or with PfCSP, respectively, revealed functional roles for each of these mutations. The unbiased site-directed mutagenesis and screening pipeline described here represent a powerful approach to enhance protective potency and to enable broader clinical use of antimalarial antibodies.

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