One approach towards the development of a vaccine against malaria is to immunize against the parasite sexual stages that mediate transmission of the parasite from man to mosquito. Antibodies against these stages, ingested with the blood meal, inhibit the parasite development in the mosquito vector, constituting "transmission blocking immunity." Most epitopes involved in transmission-blocking immunity depend on the tertiary conformational structure of surface antigens. However, one of the transmission-blocking monoclonal antibodies we have raised against Plasmodium vivax reacts with a linear epitope on both asexual stages and gametes. This monoclonal antibody (A12) is capable of totally blocking development of the parasite in the mosquito host when tested in membrane feeding assays with gametocytes from P. vivax-infected patients. Immune screening of a P. vivax lambda gt11 genomic expression library with A12 led to the isolation of a clone to which was mapped the six-amino acid epitope recognized by A12. Antisera raised in mice against a 12-mer synthetic peptide containing this epitope coupled to bovine serum albumin not only had high titers of antipeptide antibodies as measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, but in addition recognized the same 24- and 57-kD parasite components as A12 on Western blots and reacted with the parasite by immunofluorescence. When tested in membrane feeding assays, these antibodies have significant suppressive effects on parasite development in the mosquito.

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