Malaria cysteine proteases have been shown to be immunogenic and are being exploited as serodiagnostic markers, drug and vaccine targets. Several Plasmodium spp. cysteine proteases have been described and the best characterized of these are the falcipains, a family of papain-family enzymes. Falcipain-2 and falcipain-3 act in concert with other proteases to hydrolyze host erythrocyte hemoglobin in the parasite food vacuole. Falcipain-1 has less similarity to the other falcipains and its physiological role in parasite asexual blood stage still remains uncertain. Immunolocalization studies using an antibody developed against the Plasmodium chabaudi recombinant chabaupain-1, the falcipain-1 ortholog, were performed confirming its cellular localization in both erythrocyte and mosquito ookinete stage. Immunostaining of chabaupain-1 preferentially in apical portion of parasite ookinete suggests that this protease may be related with parasite egression from mosquito midgut Immune responses to chabaupain-1 were evaluated using two different adjuvants, chitosan nanoparticles and hydroxide aluminum. Mice immunized with the recombinant protein alone or in association with nanoparticles were challenged with P. chabaudi showing that immunization with the recombinant protein confers partial protection to blood stage infection in BALB/c animal model. (C) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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