Plasmodium falciparum polypeptides of 200 and 140 K mol wt exposed at the surface of merozoites and/or schizonts were purified by affinity chromatography and by electroelution from sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Monkeys were separated into three groups of four and immunized either with one of the two polypeptides or with saline (control). After intravenous challenge with 2.5 X 10(7) P. falciparum asexual blood stages, two monkeys of the control group had to be treated and two recovered spontaneously after peak parasitemia of 9 and 11%. The four monkeys immunized with the 140 K polypeptide recovered without treatment after peak parasitemia between 1.5 and 4.5%. Monkeys immunized with the 200 K polypeptide had similar peak parasitemia except one monkey who suffered from a large skin excoriation and who recovered spontaneously after a peak parasitemia of 11%. Prechallenge sera of the immunized monkeys reacted only with the polypeptide used for immunization except for one serum of the 140 K group, which precipitated an additional polypeptide of 39 K, and a polypeptide of 31 K weakly precipitated by the four sera of monkeys immunized with the 200 K polypeptide. The relatedness between the 200 and 140 K polypeptides was investigated using tryptic digestion and reverse phase chromatography. No clear analogy was found between the two polypeptides, which suggests that immunization with either of two independent surface components of P. falciparum asexual blood stages is able to induce at least a partial protective immunity in immunized hosts.

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